February 25, 2015

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Genuine humility is not thinking nothing of yourself, it’s thinking accurately of yourself. This can be a big issue. In America children are raised with what appears to be deliberately inflated self esteem, while in Japan parents never brag on their children and seldom praise them for anything. Either is a terrible aberration! Everyone is gifted in various ways, whatever handicaps they might have in other ways. (My wife’s sign language teacher in her college days said, “Everyone is handicapped; it’s just that some handicaps are more visible than others.”) It has been said that everyone rises to their level of incompetence. Humanly speaking that has some truth to it, but in God’s kingdom faithful stewards are rewarded with more. It is those who fail to recognize and make use of what they have been given who are punished. (Matthew 25:14-30) Verses 6-8 of this chapter form the foundation of what is called Motivational Gifts teaching. That can be a great help in understanding ourselves and others, and why everyone is different. Paul’s point is that we are indeed different, but we are not to let our differences make us think we are superior or inferior to anyone else in intrinsic value. We are to strive to be “profitable” servants of Christ by exercising the gifts He has given us in obedience to Him. (Luke 17:10)

I have been blessed to be able to interpret for Don and Katie Fortune several times when they have come to Japan to teach on Motivational Gifts, and I have used their material to teach on the subject myself. I would like every believer to have a firm understanding of the subject, but then I sometimes feel overwhelmed at how much we all need to know and learn to be better witnesses. I have struggled with both conceit and feelings of inferiority, so I know the pitfalls of both. I am to nurture those in my care to do as Paul says in this verse so that they may grasp the incredible potential God has placed in each person, and how that potential takes a different shape for each person. I am to be faithful to teach, and also to apply and live out the truth I am teaching, so that I may not deceive myself. (James 1:22)

Father, thank You for this reminder. I certainly need Your wisdom as to what to teach when and how. I have not been the best steward of all You have placed in me. Help me recognize which gift You want me to use when and how, to be faithful in exercising them to do Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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