Good, Pleasing, Perfect

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Psalm 84-86; Romans 12

12 So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

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. We have many parts in one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function. In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. 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. If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. 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.

18 If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people.19 Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord. 20 Instead, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head. 21 Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good. (Romans 12:1-8, 18-21, Common English Bible)

Dottie was my encourager. There have been others who have filled that role too. She was part of my life during a particularly difficult period of time. For two years, it was a rare day that Dottie didn’t find a way to communicate with me, oftentimes just to see how I was doing.

Mary had a gift of service. When I pastored a particularly mission-minded congregation, rarely did a mission team, particularly a medical mission team leave our parking lot that Mary (a nurse by training) was not part of the group.

Carol led our confirmation class in one congregation. The class lasted a full year. She met with them every Sunday. She loved every kid that was a part of her classes. She even took them on a week-long retreat to a place in Arkansas where the kids could get a small taste of how many people in the world have to live.

I have known many over the years who not only gave, they did so quietly, without fanfare and for each of them, there were no strings attached. There have even been a few like Hazel I knew I could call on when there was a real need in the congregation, either for the church or for particular people, and they would open their checkbook and simply ask, “Pastor, how much do you need.”

I truly believe all these people were living sacrifices. They are or were people pleasing to the Lord. They lived out their service to God, to others, and to the world, and they were, without question, transformed to God’s will. They were, in the words of other translations, “…good and acceptable, and perfect.” They were not only a living example for me, they were each a blessing in my life. I know they were for all who knew them. Many of you fill that role as well. Don’t stop serving. Don’t stop being a blessing. Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat the evil of this world with the good that God has placed in you.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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