We have different gifts, . . . if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6, 8
The news came as a shock. Having already survived prostate cancer, my father had now been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To complicate matters, my father is my mother’s full-time caregiver, attending to her own chronic illnesses. With both parents needing care, there would be some difficult days ahead.
After flying home to be with them, I visited my parents’ church one Sunday. There, a man named Helmut approached me, saying he’d like to help. Two days later, Helmut visited our home with a checklist. “You’ll need some meals when the chemotherapy starts,” he said. “I’ll arrange a cooking roster. What about the mowing? I can do that. And what day is your rubbish collected?” Helmut was a retired truck driver, but to us he became an angel. We discovered he often helped others—single mothers, the homeless, the elderly.
While believers in Jesus are called to help others (Luke 10:25–37), some have a special capacity to do so. The apostle Paul calls it the gift of mercy (Romans 12:8). People with this gift spot needs, rally practical assistance, and can serve over time without getting overwhelmed. Moved by the Holy Spirit, they’re the hands of the body of Christ, reaching out to touch our wounds (vv. 4–5).
Dad recently had his first day of chemotherapy. Helmut drove him to the hospital. That night my parents’ fridge was full of meals.
God’s mercy through a truck driver’s hands.
What spiritual gifts do you have? (If unsure, check out Romans 12:3–8; 1 Corinthians 12; and Ephesians 4:7–13.) How are you using them to serve others?
Heavenly Father, help me to be filled with Your mercy, so that I might serve those in need powerfully and cheerfully, revealing who You are.
Romans 12:2 instructs believers to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. It’s striking that the first thing Paul addresses regarding renewed minds is humility (v. 3). Humility is pleasing to God, but He hates pride (Isaiah 2:11; Daniel 4:37; Amos 6:8). It’s with such humility that we’re able to assess soberly what our gifts are (and what they aren’t) so that all may contribute to the body of Christ as needed (Romans 12:6–8). Whatever our gifts may be, we’re to use them cheerfully in the spirit of love and humility.