Live In Worship Romans 12:1-8 January 01, 2005

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Introduction

A missionary gave her testimony one night, and a lady said, "I would give the world to have your testimony."

y missed anything by pursuing this life style.

 

 

1.  Live In Worship with godly. . Presentation. 12:1

     A. The godly Presentation Focusing On the . . Parade of Mercies. 12:1 a

        “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, . . . ”

 

    B. The godly Presentation Focusing On the . . Pleasure of God. 12:1 b

“. . .I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God;. . .”

 

     C. The godly Presentation Focusing On the . . Penetrating Worship. 12:1 c

“. . . this is your spiritual worship.”

 

   Why should we present our bodies to a lifestyle of worship, and give our bodies in sacrifice, to the

Lord? God's parade of mercies (everything from chapter one to now) on our behalf is the reason. In addition, the text tells us this kind of living pleases God, and leads to the qualities of penetrating spiritual worship. In the Old Testament believers made a sacrifice, but in the New Testament we become a sacrifice as we emulate the Lord Jesus.

 

 

2.  Live In Worship with godly . . Perfection. 12:2-3

A. Perfection . . Refusing to Conform to the World. v 2 a

          Do not be conformed to this age,. . . "

 

B. Perfection . . Renewing the Mind. v 2 b

          ". . . but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,. . . "

 

C. Perfection . . Recognizing the Will of God. v 2 c`

             ". . . so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God."

 

      If we discover the perfect will of God we must refuse to conform to the world and it’s standards. Our mind will need the renewing caused by the new birth, which makes a new person with a new mind. In this new person we can recognize the will of God as being good, pleasing, and perfect.


 

3.  Live In Worship with godly . . Perception. 12:3-5

A. Perception Concerning the . . Grace of God. v 3

          3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself

     more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed

     a measure of faith to each one.

 

B. Perception Concerning the . . .Gifts of God. v 4

          4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same

          function,

C. Perception Concerning the . . Gathering of God. v 5

          5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually

          members of one another.

 

      A Christian perceives differently than a non-Christian because of God’s grace. The non-Christian may never think about the affects of grace in our world, but how could a Christian fail to recognize God’s grace? His grace gives all of His children ministry gifts to serve the body of Christ. These gifts are demonstrated throughout the fellowship of the church. God gathers these gifted people in a fellowship where each gift can be obvious.

 

 

4.      Live In Worship with godly . . Purpose. 12:6-8


A. An . . Individual Purpose In Grace. v 6 a

           6 According to the grace given to us,. . . "

 

B. An . . Individual Purpose In Gifts. v 6 b - 8

          ". . . we have different gifts:. . ."

 

          1. The Gift of Prophecy. v 6 b

               ". . . If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith;. . ."

 

          2. The Gift of Service. v 7 a

               "if service, in service;. . . "

 

          3 The Gift of Teaching. v 7 b

               ". . . if teaching, in teaching;. . ."

 

          4. The Gift of Exhortation. v 8 a

               "if exhorting, in exhortation;. . ."

 

          5. The Gift of Giving. v 8 b

               ". . . giving, with generosity;. . ."

 

          6. The Gift of Leading-Administration. v 8 c

               ". . . leading, with diligence;. . ."

 

          7. The Gift of Mercy. v 8 d

               ". . . showing mercy, with cheerfulness."

 

    Through His grace God gives every Christian a purpose in this world. He highlights this purpose as He gives all of us one of the seven motivational gifts mentioned in verses 6-8 of the text. In pastoral duties I have seen those with the gift of mercy work in a way other Christians would never have thought possible. My sister, Joyce, asked me on one occasion if going to a nursing home and volunteering to take wheel chair patients outside and wheel them around the yard so they could see the scenery. I would have never thought of that kind of ministry. Many times in my pastorates I needed someone with the gift of organization to lead an emphasis. A person with the gift of leading really handles committee leadership very well. The Lord has one of these gifts as a motivating gift in the life of every believer. Mine is exhortation. Do you recognize your gift? It will help you Live In Worship. Amen? Amen!



Life Application Bible Commentary

12:1 Therefore, brothers and sisters.NRSV Therefore, because of God's great compassion on both Jews and Gentiles in offering salvation through Christ, Paul urges believers to please God in their daily lives. The evil world is full of temptation and sin. Paul helps believers understand how they can live for God.

By the mercies of God.NKJV Or, literally, "through the compassions [oiktirmon] of God," refers to all that Paul has already written. Our Christianity is not based on pride in what we can do, but entirely on God's mercy to forgive us.

Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.NRSV Paul had already told the Roman believers, "Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness" (6:13). Our bodies are all we have to offer we live in our bodies. The body enfolds our emotions, our mind, our thoughts, our desires, and our plans. Thus, the body represents the total person; it is the instrument by which all our service is given to God. In order to live for God, we must offer him all that we are, represented by our body. The word offer has also been translated "give," "yield," or "present." If our body is at God's disposal, he will have our free time, our pleasures, and all our behavior.

When sacrificing an animal according to God's law, a priest would kill the animal, cut it in pieces, and place it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the Old Testament God made it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important (see 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6; Amos 5:21-24). God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal, and trusting him to guide us (see Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:5). Our new life is a thanks-offering to God. Offering our body as a living sacrifice is holy and pleasing to God.NIV To be a holy sacrifice is to be completely set apart for God and dedicated to his service. Those who are dedicated to God are pleasing to God because they can participate in his service. If we are not set apart from our old life, we will not be useful to God.

 

See Also:

Chart: Sacrifices Compared

This is your spiritual act of worship.NIV The Greek word for "worship" (latreian) here refers to any act done for God, such as work that priests and Levites performed. Spiritual (logiken) can also mean "reasonable" (nkjv). To serve God is the only reasonable way to respond to his mercy.

12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.NIV When believers offer their entire self to God, a change will happen in their relation to the world. Christians are called to a different life-style than what the world offers with its behavior and customs, which are usually selfish and often corrupting (Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:14). Christians are to live as citizens of a future world. There will be pressure to conform, to continue living according to the script written by the world, but believers are forbidden to give in to that pressure.

Many Christians wisely decide that much worldly behavior is off limits for them. After all, it is not our objective to find out just how much like the world we can become yet still maintain our distinctives. But refusing to conform to this world's values must go even deeper than the level of behavior and customsCit must be firmly planted in our mindsCbe transformed by the renewing of your minds.NRSV The Greek word for "transformed" (metamorphousthe) is the root for the English word metamorphosis. Believers are to experience a complete transformation from the inside out. And the change must begin in the mind, where all thoughts and actions begin. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24 niv). One of the keys, then, to the Christian life is to be involved in activities that renew the mind. Renewing (anakainosei) refers to a new way of thinking, a mind desiring to be conformed to God rather than to the world. We will never be truly transformed without this renewing of our mind.

Much of the work is done by God's Spirit in us, and the tool most frequently used is God's Word. The Bible claims the ability to judge "the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12 niv). As we memorize and meditate upon God's Word, our way of thinking changes. Our minds become first informed, and then conformed to the pattern of God, the pattern for which we were originally designed.

 

See Also:

Chart: Do Not Conform

Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is.niv When believers have had their minds transformed and are becoming more like The main problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.

Anonymous


Christ, they will want God's will, and not their own will, for their lives. And only as they are being transformed will they be able to know, do, and enjoy what God desires for them. Knowing God's will isn't always easy, and even less so when it is not defined in every aspect by a set of laws and regulations. But it is possible if we willingly submit to and depend on God. Only then can we know it; only then can we begin the even more difficult task of doing it.

His good, pleasing and perfect will.NIV In the Greek text the three adjectives good, pleasing, and perfect are used as substantives (nouns). God's will is what is good, what is pleasing (to God), and what is perfect for each believer. Believers who are being transformed, who know and do God's will, also discover that what God plans for them is good, pleasing to God, and perfect for them.

12:3 By the grace given to me I say.NRSV Paul is here speaking as an apostle (see 1:5). The authority he was about to exercise was not his own by right, but was an evidence of God's grace. He firmly claimed to speak for another.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.niv Inflated pride has no place in a believer's life (see 3:27; 11:18, 20). This is especially significant in light of Paul's teaching up to this point in his letter. The Jews are not better than the Gentiles; the Gentiles are not better than the Jews. Rather, all are dependent on God's mercy for their salvation, thus there is no room for pride. Any such pride would undermine the oneness vital to the growth of the church.Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in Practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands, and moves towards the goal of true maturity (Romans 12:2).

J. B. Phillips


Think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.NIV Each believer's personal appraisal ought to be honest. Neither an inflated ego nor a deflated person is free to obey. God has given each believer a measure of faith with which to serve him. This expression refers to the spiritual capacity and/or power given to each person to carry out his or her function in the church. The concept of "measure" is described further in 12:6, where Paul uses the terminology "different gifts, according to the grace given us." It is God's discernment, not ours, that gives out the measure for service. Whatever we have in the way of natural abilities or spiritual gifts all should be used with humility for building up the body of Christ. If we are proud, we cannot exercise our faith and gifts to benefit others. And if we consider ourselves worthless, we also withhold what God intended to deliver to others through us.


LIFE APPLICATION

SELF-WORTH

Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of us overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worthCour identity in Christ. Apart from him, we aren't capable of very much by eternal standards; in him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating ourselves by worldly standards of success and achievement can cause us to think too much about our worth in the eyes of others and thus miss our true value in God's eyes.


12:4 We have many members in one body. NKJV Replacing the national identity that had once set apart God's people, Paul gives a new picture of the identity of God's redeemed people. They are like a body. Each of us has one body, but it has many partsCeyes, ears, fingers, toes, blood vessels, muscles. And all the members do not have the same function.nkjv Not every part of our body can see; not every part hears. Instead, each part has a specific function, and they all must work together if the body is going to move and act correctly. (See also 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.)We are called to bear that image as a Body because any one of us taken individually would present an incomplete image, one partly false and always distorted, like a single glass chip hacked from a mirror. But collectively, in all our diversity, we can come together as a community of believers to restore the image of God in the world. Paul Brand


12:5 In Christ we who are many form one body. NIV Just as our physical bodies are composed of many parts, so the "body of Christ" is made up of many believers who all perform different yet vital functions. And as our bodies cannot be taken apart, so each member, each believer in the body of Christ, belongs to all the others.NIV The members work together to make the body work; the body doesn't exist to serve the members, and the body is not dependent on one or two of its members to run the show. Every person has his or her part to do. When it is not done, the body suffers.

Even a superficial grasp of this one body imagery demolishes much of the individualized religion of our day. The overemphasis given to personal opinion tends to create an all-too-fragile unity, given the real nature of those being brought together. As sinners, we are naturally divisive; so it is only through the presence and work of Christ that we can remain together. Only in Christ is there basis for unity that transcends differences. Perhaps more churches and relationships between believers would be preserved if we ended every disagreement with a genuine question, "Are we still together in Christ?"

12:6 Different gifts.NIV We must be humble and recognize our partner ship in the body of Christ. Only then can our gifts be used effectively, and only then can we appreciate others' gifts. God gives us gifts so we can build up his church. To use them effectively, we must:

realize that all gifts and abilities come from God

understand that not everyone has the same gifts nor all the gifts

know who we are and what we do best dedicate our gifts to God's service and not to our personal success

be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God's service.

According to the grace given to us.NRSV God's gifts differ in nature, power, and effectiveness according to his wisdom and graciousness, not according to our faith. The "measure of faith" (12:3) or the "proportion" of faith means that God will give the spiritual power necessary and appropriate to carry out each responsibility. We cannot, by our own

effort or willpower, drum up more faith and thus be more effective teachers or servants. These are God's gifts to his church, and he gives faith and power as he wills. Our role is to be faithful and to seek ways to serve others with what Christ has given us.It is only rarely that prophecy in the New Testament has to do with foretelling the future; it usually has to do with foretelling the word of God.

William Barclay


Prophesying . . . in proportion to his faith.NIV The gifts Paul mentions in this list fall into two categories: speaking and serving. Gifts are given that God's grace may be expressed. Words speak to our hearts and minds of God's grace; acts of service show that grace in action. This list is not exhaustive; there are many gifts, most of them hidden from the public, those "behind the scenes" words and actions that serve and magnify God.

Prophesying, according to the New Testament, is not always predicting the future. Often it means effectively communicating God's messages (1 Corinthians 14:1-3). Another translation of in proportion to his faith would be "in agreement to the faith"; in other words, the message communicated must be true to the tenets of the Christian faith. The way that Paul refers to each of these gifts focuses on their importance in use. These gifts are not for having, but for using. In other words, God's gifts fulfill their value as they are utilized for the benefit of others. Discovery of God's gifts to us ought to be followed by putting them to work.

12:7-8 Serving . . . serve. If a person has the gift of serving, then he or she should use it where and when it is needed, and use it to its best and fullest capacity. The same goes for the other gifts that Paul mentions: teaching . . . encouraging . . . contributing to the needs of others . . . leadership . . . [and] showing mercy.NIV Whatever gift a believer has, he or she should faithfully use it in gratitude to God. By focusing on the application of the gifts, Paul is removing the tendency toward unhealthy self-congratulation in the discovery of gifts. If we are busy using our gifts, we will be less taken up with concerns over status and power. Genuine service controls pride.

When studying this list of gifts, one might imagine the characteristics of the people who would have them. Prophets are often bold and articulate. Servers (those in ministry) are faithful and loyal. Teachers are clear thinkers. Encouragers know how to motivate others. Givers are generous and trusting. Leaders are good organizers and managers. Those who show mercy are caring people who are happy to give their time to others.

This list of gifts is representative, not exhaustive. It would be difficult for one person to embody all these gifts. An assertive prophet usually would not make a good counselor, and a generous giver might fail as a leader. When people identify their own gifts and their unique combination of gifts (this list is far from complete), they should then discover how they can use their gifts to build up Christ's body, the church. At the same time, they should realize that one or two gifts can't do all the work of the church. Believers should be thankful for each other, thankful that others have gifts that are completely different. In the church, believers' strengths and weaknesses can balance each other. Some people's abilities compensate for other people's deficiencies. Together all believers can build Christ's church. But all these gifts will be worthless if they are used begrudgingly out of duty, or if they are exercised without love (see also 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

 













































CNew American Commentary


Among Believers (12:1B21)

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to GodCthis is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will isChis good, pleasing and perfect will.

3For 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. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


12:1B2 The Atherefore@ in v. 1 refers back not simply to the previous argument about God's mercy in bringing salvation to Jew and Gentile but to everything that Paul had been teaching from the beginning of the epistle. It marks the transition from the theology of God's redemptive act in Christ Jesus to the ethical expectations that flow logically from that theological base. We come now to what is usually called the Apractical@ section of Romans.

The practical, however, must of necessity rest upon a solid theological foundation. Otherwise it is little more than advice about how to get along in a religious community. If God had not done what he did for us, there would be no compelling reason why we should now do what he says. The dynamic of God's ethical instruction arises from its logical and necessary relationship to who he is and what he has done on our behalf. Many of the living religions have an ethical code that uplifts and inspires. Only the Christian faith, rooted as it is in a supernatural act that took place in history (the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ), has the ultimate moral authority as well as the effective power to transform human life according to the divine intention. So Christian ethics are practical specifically because they do not stand alone but emerge as unavoidable implications of an established theological base. Theology in isolation promotes a barren intellectualism. Ethics apart from a theological base is impotent to achieve its goals.

In view of the many mercies of God, Paul exhorted his readers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices (cf. 6:13; 1 Pet 2:5). C. K. Barrett comments that A>the mercies of God= forms a not inadequate summary of what is contained in chs. i-xi, and especially in chs. ix-xi@ and that the proper response Ais not to speculate upon the eternal decrees, or one's own place in the scheme of salvation, but to be obedient.@ The first word of 12:1 is the verb parakalo, AI urge,@ which has a fairly wide range of meanings including Ato call to one's side,@ Ato exhort,@ Ato implore,@ Ato encourage.@ C. E. B. Cranfield says that it is a technical term for Christian exhortation, which he defines as Athe earnest appeal, based on the gospel, to those who are already believers to live consistently with the gospel they have received.@ The metaphor in the verse has as its setting the sacrificial system of the Old Testament. Believers are exhorted to Amake a decisive dedication@ (Berkeley) of themselves as worshipers stepping forward to place their offerings on the altar. Holiness of life rarely progresses apart from deliberative acts of the will. While sanctification is gradual in the sense that it continues throughout life, each advance depends upon a decision of the will. That the sacrifice is Aliving@ reflects the voluntary nature of the act. F. F. Bruce comments that Athe sacrifices of the new order do not consist in taking the lives of others, like the ancient animal sacrifices, but in giving one's own.@ Such sacrifices are Aholy and pleasing to God.@ They are worthy of his acceptance. The possibility of bringing pleasure to God provides a powerful motivation for complete surrender of self.

Paul said that the offering of one's body as a living sacrifice is a Aspiritual act of worship.@ This expression has been variously translated as Aspiritual service, reasonable worship, rational service,@ and so on. Perhaps the best paraphrase is that of Knox, AThis is the worship due from you as rational creatures.@ In view of God's acts of mercy it is entirely fitting that we commit ourselves without reservation to him. To teach that accepting the free gift of God's grace does not necessarily involve a moral obligation on our part is a heresy of gigantic proportions. The popular cliche AHe is Lord of all or not Lord at all@ is absolutely right.

If v. 1 speaks of a specific act in which we offer ourselves to God, v. 2 tells us of two ongoing activities that carry out the intention of the living sacrifice. The first is negative; the second, positive. Believers are no longer to conform themselves to the present age (cf. 1 Pet 1:14). As citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20) we are to Aset [our] minds on things above, not on earthly things (Col 3:2). Paul reminded the Galatians that the present age is evil (Gal 1:4). It cannot, and must not, serve as a model for Christian living. Its values and goals are antithetical to growth in holiness. The church should stand out from the world as a demonstration of God's intention for the human race. To be culturally identified with the world is to place the church at risk. Believers are to be salt and light (Matt 5:13B14), purifying and enlightening contemporary culture.

Rather than allowing the world to Asqueeze you into its own mold@ (Phillips), Paul told believers to be Atransformed by the renewing of your minds.@ From without there is a continuing pressure to adopt the customs and mind-set of the world in which we live. Although that influence must be rejected, that alone will never create the kind of change God has in mind for his followers. Real and lasting change comes from within. We must Alet ourselves be transformed.@ The verb occurs in two other settings in the New Testament. First is Mark 9:2 (Matt 17:2), where Jesus is said to have been Atransfigured@ before his three disciples. Next is 2 Cor 3:18, where Paul taught that believers, as they behold the glory of the Lord, are being Atransformed@ into his likeness. The transformation of which Paul spoke in Rom 12:2 is not a change effected from without but a radical reorientation that begins deep within the human heart.

A renewed mind is concerned with those issues of life that are of lasting importance. By nature our thoughts tend to dwell on the ephemeral. But that which passes quickly is normally inconsequential. As Paul said in another place, AWhat is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal@ (2 Cor 4:18). The mind renewed enables us to discern the will of God. Released from the control of the world around us, we can come to know what God has in mind for us. We will find that his will is Agood, pleasing and perfect.@ It is good because it brings about moral and spiritual growth. It is pleasing to God because it is an expression of his nature. It is perfect in that no one could possibly improve on what God desires to happen.

12:3B8 Paul was fully aware of the devastating consequences of pride in any group of believers. So he cautioned the Christians at Rome not to think of themselves more highly than they ought (v. 3), reminded them that they were all members of the one body (vv. 4B5), and encouraged them to utilize their individual gifts for the benefit of the entire church (vv. 6B8). Paul offered these instructions in virtue of the office he himself held. His appointment as an apostle was a special act of divine favor. He called on his readers not to entertain an inflated view of their own importance. Rather, they should model the humility that places the rights and welfare of others above their own (cf. Phil 2:3). As J. Denney writes: ATo himself, every man is in a sense the most important person in the world, and it always needs much grace to see what other people are, and to keep a sense of moral proportion.@ That they were to think of themselves with Asober judgment@ (v. 3) suggests how out of touch with reality were their opinions of themselves. Since the metaphor suggests intoxication, one might say they were in danger of becoming Aegoholics!@

To each member of the church in Rome, God had given a measure of faith (cf. 1 Cor 12:11; Eph 4:7). Paul reminded them that as the physical body is made up of many members performing various functions, so also in Christ the many members form one body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12B31; Eph 4:25). Unity in diversity is the theme that runs through this section. This unity, however, which is spiritual, was only possible because the members were Ain Christ,@ that is, joined by faith they had become a part of the body of Christ. Since they were all members of one body, it follows that Aeach member belong[ed] to all the others@ (v. 5). The Christian faith is essentially a corporate experience. Although each member has come to faith by a separate and individual act of faith, the believing community lives out its Christian experience in fellowship with one another. John Donne's ANo man is an island@ is true of the church of Jesus Christ. ALone Ranger Christianity@ is a contradiction in terms.

The gift each believer has received is the result of the gracious outpouring of God's blessing on the church (v. 6). Berger writes: AThe various charismata are understood as concrete manifestations of the one grace bestowed on all.@ Paul mentioned seven different gifts and showed how they were to be exercised (cf. 1 Pet 4:10). First is the gift of prophecy. The New Testament prophet was a person who spoke for God. According to Eph 4:11 prophets served together with apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in the preparation of God's people for service. Each prophet is to speak in proportion to the gift he has received. If a person's gift is practical service, then that person is to serve (v. 7). Since the English term Adeacon@ comes from this Greek word group, many relate the admonition to the care of any kind of practical need that might surface in the membership. Murray refers it to the ministry of the Word.

The next two gifts mentioned are teaching and encouraging. Teaching was an ancient and honorable profession in the Jewish culture. In the New Testament world teaching was primarily but not exclusively moral instruction. In 1 Cor 12:28 Paul assigned a place of importance to teachers right after apostles and prophets. If teaching is your gift, then teach. If teaching provides guidance for what people ought to do, encouragement helps them achieve it. If a person's gift is contributing to the needs of others, then generosity is what is called for. As Paul taught elsewhere, giving is not to be done reluctantly or under compulsion; God loves the cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7).

Another gift of God's grace is leadership. Leaders are to carry out their responsibility with diligence. Although leadership in the contemporary world is often seen as the fruit of ambition, persistence, and good fortune (cf. Matt 8:9), biblical leadership is essentially a service carried out for the benefit of others. The final gift mentioned is showing mercy. This would include such helpful activities as feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and caring for the aging. These are to be done cheerfully. The afflicted have troubles of their own. They have no need of Ahelpers@ who carry out their obligation as if they were great crushing burdens.

CNew American Commentary