Monday, September 29, 2008
If You Have Been Given Gifts, Use Them!
Yesterday evening we at Church of the Incarnation (Episcopal) instituted and inducted our new rector (senior pastor), The Right Reverend Anthony J. Burton, formerly Bishop of the Diocese of Saskatchewan, Canada. The service was beautiful and quite moving and was presided over by the The Right Reverend James M. Stanton, Bishop of Dallas. We are greatly blessed to have Bishop Burton and his family as part of our parish.
During his sermon, Bishop Stanton made a statement that stood out in particular to me, because this is something of which I constantly have to remind myself. The statement was emphatic and simple: “If you have been given gifts, use them!”
The sermon text was based on the following passage from The Letter of Paul to the Romans. I am far from a biblical scholar, so it is not surprising that the impact of this text had never come home to me before:
“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I bed every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.”
~~Romans 12: 1-18
This passage reminded me of my favorite quote from Mother Teresa, which I have used on this site previously:
“Love until it hurts….What I do you cannot do: but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”
Website of Church of the Incarnation: http://www.incarnation.org/