Exodus 1:8-2:10 and Psalm 124
Isaiah 51:1-6 and Psalm 138
Peace be with you!
We just got done talking about how the Jewish and Christian belief systems work together and the Jewish salvation mystery. But how do we work with differences within the Christian church?
Paul presents us with a new way of thinking to be in a relationship with the Triune God. We are to make living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1). As Matt Skinner says during this week’s Brainwave, sacrifices are prone to dying, like Jesus Christ (Lewis and Skinner 2011). Set. Point. Match? No, we are not asked to kill baby animals as sacrifices to God. However, we are to make living sacrifices … But what does Paul mean by living sacrifices?
Living sacrifices describe how we live out our live. As Christians, we make living sacrifices by the way we live: the things we choose not to do and be apart of AND the things we choose to do and be apart of. It is the daily choices we make to honor God. We obey and keep the Ten Commandments and the laws Jesus gave us in order to make holy living sacrifices.
As Christians, our actions, thoughts, ideas, and etc are holy and honor God. We make living sacrifices when we choose to live a Christians and to not let the world tell us what to do. Our living sacrifices are holy, which God uses for his divine purposes on earth. God uses us, Christians, as his agents on earth to provide services to others who are in need of help.
Paul recognizes we are all different in how we express our faith, how we share the good news, and how we share our gifts. God gives each of us different gifts to do his work. Paul divides the gifts in two categories: speech and service. Under speech, there are gifts of prophecy, teaching, and encouraging an individual to do something. We give others the wisdom, knowledge, and strength to step out on a limp and take a leap of faith. Under service, there are gifts of contribute, giving aid, and acts of mercy. These gifts are giving of yourself to help others for God’s divine purposes (Hultgren 2011).
But one individual cannot own all of these gifts. It takes a community to have all of the gifts, and it takes a community with individuals who help one another for each individual to have what the things they need to live. When a family loses their home to a fire, others in the community come together to provide them shelter, clothing, and etc. The individuals in the community work together, so each individual has everything he/she needs to survive in the world.
The greatest thing is God uses our gifts for his divine purposes. No one is more or less important than other individuals. God needs each individual and his/her gifts to excavate his plan. No one person can do everything a community needs; it takes a community for each individual to have what they need to live.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving us a community to live in. Help us to live in a healthy community where everyone works together. Thank you for using us for your divine purposes. Amen.
Hultgren, Arland J. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011.
Lewis, Karoline, and Matt Skinner. “Brainwave 189: Lectionary Texts for the 14th of August 2011.” Working Preacher. St Paul, MN: Luther Seminary, August 14, 2011.
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. What gifts do you contribute to your community?
2. How do others’ gifts help you?