Indian man smashing rocks with a hammer

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:  (Romans 12:6 ESV)

We are to think of ourselves with humility and with the measure of faith assigned to each of us by God. This is an uncommonly balanced esteem of oneself, not arrogant yet also avoiding despondency or hopelessness. I know I’ve fallen into both extremes and done plenty of stumbling around in between them.

Some folks hate the concept of being assigned a role in life by God, preferring to believe that with enough faith in oneself, ambition, discipline and determination each person can be whatever they want to be. Such ideas are clearly a load of rubbish – take a look around, is everyone really of equal ability and talents? Do we all have the same opportunities?

Oddly, it is often the espousers of ‘you can be anything you want to be’ who also have a nebulous idea of having a ‘destiny’ which they can achieve with determination and belief in themselves.

Well, God does in fact give us a destiny. How detailed the plan is remains unknown, but in Romans 12 Paul clearly promotes the idea that we are not all given the same abilities, and even those with similar abilities have differing levels of faith to use those abilities in service of God’s kingdom. That could cause distress to folks who like the idea of self-made success, the audacity of God to assign a lower level of faith to one person compared with another!

I find it freeing. God expect me to serve according to the measure of faith and abilities that I do have, not according to the abilities of some other very talented person whom I secretly envy. Like Jesus told Peter to mind his own damn business regarding whether John would be martyred or not, He also says to each of us when we whine to God about what some other Christian is achieving rather than us: “What’s that to you? You follow me!”  (John 21:22).

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