3 Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. 4 We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. 5 In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 6 We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith. 7 If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 8 If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging. The one giving should do it with no strings attached. The leader should lead with passion. The one showing mercy should be cheerful.
Did you ever go out to eat and find yourself suffering from order envy? You know, that moment when you look across the table and get jealous because your friend’s food looks so much better than yours? It’s basically a metaphor for the entire human condition.
We are never quite satisfied with the portion given to us, even when it comes to our portion of faith.
Paul says that God has measured some out for each of us. Some people are good about discerning and telling others divine truths. Some excel at helping others. Some teach in a way that elevates and inspires those around them. Some never fail to come alongside us when our strength begins to fade. Some folks are gifted to lead – they seem to be born with it! Still others seem to have hearts big enough to show compassion for everyone – and they somehow seem to do it without ever feeling put upon.
Now, I’m willing to bet something. Two things, actually. First, I imagine that you read something in the paragraph above and said, “yeah, I guess maybe that’s me.” And then you read another line and said, “yeah, I WISH that were me.” It happened to me too, even as I was writing it!
Why do we do that? Why is it that, no matter what gift of faith we have, we can’t help wishing we had a different one? I don’t understand what makes it so hard just to accept that even though I can’t do EVERYTHING, there’s SOMETHING God has given me to do that I’m REALLY good at.
That’s why I find the idea of a “portion” of faith so helpful. We only get a slice – maybe two if we’re lucky – but we never get the whole pie. Do you know why that is? I think it’s like Paul says, so that we don’t think of ourselves more highly than we should. It’s not a bad thing to admit that you can’t do it all. It’s not a bad thing to accept that you don’t have all the gifts and skills to make something happen. It’s not a bad thing to recognize that you need help.
Instead of looking jealously at others’ portions, maybe we should focus first on what’s on our own plates!
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
So, what’s your portion of faith? Is it anything Paul describes in the verses above? Or is it maybe something else?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me today to embrace the portion of faith that you’ve given me. Don’t allow me to be jealous of the portions others have received. Help me focus today on giving thanks for what’s on my plate, that I might use my portion to serve you well. Amen.