There is a phrase in Romans chapter 12 that always makes me stop. It’s not one of the more frequently quoted verses in the Bible – maybe that’s part of the reason. It says:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
I get that God has given me grace, and that I should be humble. But then… each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
Wait a minute? Measure of faith? Does that mean that some people have more or less faith than I do? I don’t claim to have the final word on how to interpret this but that does seem to be implied here. Later in the chapter Paul talks about different roles within the body of Christ. The measure of faith that God has given us includes specific gifts. And they’re not necessarily the same gifts the guy or girl next door has gotten. If He’s gifted us in teaching we should teach. If He’s given us a special heart for service, we should serve.
God says we should think about ourselves humbly, with sober judgment. That means we don’t all get to be the pastor. But another way to look at it is that means we don’t all have to be the pastor. I don’t know about you but for me that is both humbling and a relief. It reminds me that I have no right to think of myself as superior to anyone for any reason. Nobody needs the grace of Jesus Christ any more than I do. It also reassures me when I compare myself to anyone I may think of as a spiritual giant – let’s say Billy Graham, or that person in church who always seems to have that amazing servant’s heart – that their faith was not something they accomplished, but was given to them by God. And my faith and my gifts were given to me by God.
I hope that these verses challenge and encourage you too. I hope you and I can also realize that while God may not have given us the gifts that we admire in someone we look up to, He has given each of us exactly the gifts He intends for us to have. Let’s commit to willingly letting Him use those gifts as He works through us in 2017.