As human beings, our natural tendency is to think of ourselves as right and everyone else as, well, wrong. The way we do things seems to us like the best way to do things. And it should. If you grew up driving on the left side of the road, then it will feel wrong to drive on the right side of the road. Your way is not necessarily better, but it will feel better to you. And, that is okay. What you do with that feeling is what matters.
In our scripture, this week from Romans 12 we are challenged not to think about ourselves more highly than we ought. Notice that it does not say we are not to think about ourselves. Rather, it says, we are to think of ourselves reasonably. We are to think about ourselves in light of God’s goodness and his work in our lives. We are not to pretend we don’t have anything to offer. We are not to act as if we ourselves are the saviours of the world. We are to see ourselves rightly.
The scripture continues to say that we are many parts of the same body. God designed the body well and each part has a unique function. Don’t compare yourself to someone else wishing you had what they have. Don’t see yourself as less important because you aren’t able to do the same things as those around you. You were created uniquely. Your gifts are unique. It is possible to spend so much time looking at what you don’t have that you never take time to realise and appreciate what you do have.
The truth is that we need you to do what you have been graced by God to do. And you need the other parts of the body to do what God created them to do. We need each other. “Individually we belong to each other.” Whatever gift you may have, you would do well to recognise it, understand how it fits with the other parts of the body, and offer it wholeheartedly for God’s glory!
There is no gift, no profession that God can’t use for his glory and to benefit his people. In the reading from Exodus 1 we see some unlikely heroes. In this passage, some God-fearing midwives carry out their profession in faith and faithfulness. As lowly service-oriented people, they stand up to the powerful. And, God blesses them. And, he uses them to bless and prosper an entire people.
They did not say, “We are lowly midwives. What can we do?” They lived out their calling in faith and faithfulness. How might you leverage your gifts, your profession, your calling for the glory of God and the good of his people? Also, we see clearly highlighted in Isaiah 51 that it is God’s blessing that prospers us. We do not make ourselves. God is the one who prospered Abraham and made him the father of many nations. It is the same God who blessed the midwives in Exodus 1 and blessed the entire nation of Israel through them.
Many of the scripture readings during the past few weeks have spoken of the tension that exists between what the Bible often calls "the world" and the Christian community. It is not easy for us to understand the radical nature of Jesus' claims. Yet, it is the very same God who gives Peter revelation to understand who Jesus was and to speak the truth out so boldly and clearly. And, it is the same God who graces us with different gifts as Romans 12 points out.