For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
This is such a rich passage with so many life-giving truths for our age: – Not thinking of ourselves too highly. – Remembering that we are one body; one humanity. – Rejoicing in our diversity.
Driving around Croydon today, I will encounter drivers who believe they are the most important people in the world, with the most urgent tasks to fulfil and a divine right to get ahead of me. I, of course, never fall into this trap of thinking of myself so highly(!?). We all know that driving under the influence is illegal, but how about driving without sober judgement?
We can be fooled into thinking that some of us are lesser than others: migrants described as ‘rats’ in a tunnel, the disabled as ‘invalid’ (and on and on). Once we’ve judged and dehumanised our brothers and sisters, it is an easy step to blaming them, to hating them, to treating them terribly. Before we know where we are, we have rejected God’s love for all. Our ‘one body’ is destroyed by ‘my’ body.
The image of the body with its many parts, is really helpful. The tiny homogeneous boxes of what society considers to be attractive, valuable and successful, are a lie. They suit the advertisers bottom-line, but they reduce us to a grey shadow of our colourful God-given selves.
God creates us as one people with unique gifts that can be used for good or ill. As we go about our lives today, consider: How often are we inflated by our reduction of others? How often are we deflated by society’s raising of others?
Loving God, as we tread the fine line between rejoicing in your creation of us and the temptation to place ourselves higher than others, help us to celebrate the wholeness of humanity and to use our uniqueness and diversity in such a way that we value others and believe in ourselves. Amen
The Rev’d Martin Knight is minister of St Paul’s URC, South Croydon and South Croydon United Church (Methodist/URC)
If today’s Daily Devotion is not showing on your church’s website, this will have affected all church websites using this feed in the same way. Our volunteer technical team are probably aware of the issue and will be working to fix it as soon as they are able. Thank you.