A Reflection on Romans 12

While Pastor Michael is on sabbatical, our weekly E-pistle will be written by different individuals.  This week’s E-pistle is by Old First Member Janice Smith, head of our Gardeners Group…

Some reflection on Romans 12:1-8, one of the scriptures for this week.

God is merciful. So we should think of our lives as a sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. (Romans 12:1)

It’s hard to imagine God seeing my life as pleasing or holy. I used to feel that I was expected to discern God’s will and execute it correctly. I had no clue what God’s will was for me! I thought life was a test and that I would be judged or graded after and be seen as a failure. So God would love and save me because God is good, but I would just muddle through this life. The whole world seemed doomed to that kind of despair. We would pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven, but in the end, that would fail and God would just end the whole thing.

I’m able to see now that our relationship with God can be much better than one of a bad child to a disapproving parent or a child who does poorly in school. I try to think of life with God as a partnership. Say we are dancers – we practice together and try new moves. God usually leads, but sometimes I have something I want to try and God gives me the lead. We improvise. We have fun working together and relying on each other. In my analogy there would be other dancers, musicians, people who design and sew costumes and many more who take part. If other people can see it they enjoy our choreography and our delight in our performance.

Each of us has a job to do with God. And all the jobs we do are enhanced because we make up a community. In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8)

The gifts listed in Romans sound very admirable and may seem daunting. But the good news is God does give us gifts and doesn’t leave us unequipped to participate. My friend, John, had a gift I really appreciated – he had the gift of being silly. He was always looking for ways to be helpful and always had a stupid joke or a funny story. Life was just better with him around.

I read a book this summer, The Shack, by William Paul Young. It describes God’s transforming relationship with a person who is stuck in despair. If you read it, I’d love to know what you think.

See you in church,

Janice