My great aunt had an exciting job in advertising and traveled between Chicago and New York City. But she chose to give up that career out of love for her parents. They lived in Minnesota and needed to be cared for. Both of her brothers had died young in tragic circumstances and she was her mom and dad’s only remaining child. For her, serving her parents was an expression of her faith.
The apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Rome urged Christian believers to be “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). He hoped they would extend Christ’s sacrificial love to each other. And he asked them not to think of themselves more highly than they should (v. 3). When they fell into disagreements and division, he called them to lay down their pride, because “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (v. 5). He yearned that they would show each other sacrificial love.
Each day we have the opportunity to serve others. For instance, we might let someone go ahead of us in a line or we might, like my great aunt, care for someone who is ill. Or maybe we share from our experience as we give another advice and direction. When we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, we honor God.
Lord Jesus Christ, You humbled Yourself and lay down Your life that I might live. May I never forget this most precious gift of grace and love.
Paul tells us not to “conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2). What is the pattern of this world? Paul doesn’t define it for us, but we gain a hint when he immediately addresses the problem of pride. In verse 3 he says, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” Then he emphasizes the need for us to use our God-given gifts to live in unity and community. “We, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (v. 5). God gifts us not so we may glorify ourselves but so that we might serve each other in love.