Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Romans 12:1-8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The New Life in Christ
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual[b] worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Yesterday in our Daily Bread devotional, I quoted part of the prayer of Great Thanksgiving in the service of Holy Communion: “…in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us…” It is from today’s reading that we get the phrase “living sacrifice.”
A ritual sacrifice in the religious practices of the time meant the death of an animal being sacrificed to God (or to gods in other religions). But, here Paul urges us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. What does that mean? The verses that follow help us answer that question.
To be a living sacrifice means not simply being conformed to the world—just the way things are—but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. It means that our minds will be renewed as we discern what God’s will is and what is truly good.
To be a living sacrifice means that we won’t think more highly of ourselves, but we’ll willingly give of ourselves for the sake of others, using the gifts God has given us. We are on Body in Christ, yet we have different gifts and abilities according to the grace of God given to us.
There is a song from a children’s musical called “Good Kings Come in Small Packages” that comes to mind. I invite you to pray these words as a prayer today:
Make me a servant,
Humble and meek.
Lord let me lift up
Those who are weak.
And may the prayer
Of my heart always be
Make me a servant
Make me a servant
Make me a servant today
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster