June 8, 2003
GRACE FOR SERVICE
To those whose service is reasonable, whose bodies are yielded, and whose minds are renewed, the will of God will appear to be both good, and acceptable, and perfect in every way. The question is, "In what way are we to carry out His will in our service and ministry?"
We are "not to think more highly" but "to think soberly...as we ought to think...according as God has imparted to every man the measure." The verse adds, "of faith," which means the measure of God given ability or spiritual talent whereby we serve. But the "high things" that are not to occupy our minds in verse 3 are also found in verse 16, "Mind not high things" things which would exalt us in serving!
By grace God has imparted to us an ability to serve. This alone should humble us, but there is the tendency of the flesh to be proud, even in Christian service. There is no better example than Paul and how he dealt with this very problem. Throughout his epistles Paul shows grace, not only for salvation, but for service. "The grace of God that brings salvation to all men has appeared ...teaching us" (Titus 2:11). Provoked by the prodding of the Corinthians, Paul wrote, "Let no man think me a fool...yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly..." and continued, "Ye suffer fools gladly..." and,"...whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly), I am bold also," and again, "Are they ministers of Christ, (I speak as a fool) I am more" (11:19, 21, 23). It grieved Paul to speak thus. To be sure we are not to follow him in such wherein he says he is a fool.
Paul wrote, "lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me to be, or hears me to be, and lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given unto me a thorn for the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" (2 Cor. 12:7).
To the Ephesians he wrote, "to me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given..." This is not the grace of salvation but service, "that I should preach...the riches of Christ" (3:8). Humility belongs to the believer's walk and service, as we "walk worthy of the vocation...with all lowliness and meekness..." (Ephesians 4:2).
Ivan L. Burgener