Living Sacrifice (Part 4)

24 May

We are in chapter 3 which Dr. Roseveare entitles With all my mind. I am not going to share any particular story this week but I will note one common thread in all of the stories she shares – the battle to submit herself to God’s ways and not her own.

The battle goes something like this – She wants to use her abilities as a doctor, God wants her to learn how build hospitals. She wants to spend more time sharing the gospel, God wants her to treat sick patients. She wants to interact more with students and patients, God wants her in her office doing administrative work. It’s not that the things she wanted to do were ever sinful in themselves, it was just that she was discontent if she wasn’t doing those things when she wanted to do them. She had a role to play in what God was doing but was consistently discontent with his choice of what that role would be. What she was learning throughout all of this was that true contentment came when she gave God what she had and allowed him to do with it whatever he wanted. It was a lesson that she had to learn over and over and over again. Sound familiar? In principle I am sure that battle sounds familiar to all of us.

Perhaps what contributes to our discontentment – whether we are missionary doctors in Africa or housewives in Toronto – is that we don’t often think of the ultimate purpose in why God has gifted up with certain abilities. First, my mind goes to 1 Corinthians 12-14. God has gifted us all differently for the purpose of building up the church. It is not so that we can glory  in our own gifts and use them as we see fit. We are given gifts (specifically spiritual gifts here, but I think – correct me if I am wrong – that would also mean natural gifts as well) for the common good of the church (12:7). There should be no complaining about what gifts we have been given and how we get to use them, because we are all working together for the same goal, namely, to live in such a way that our Father in heaven receives all the glory.

This shouldn’t discourage us from enjoying the gifts God has given us simply because they are good and enjoyable, but I do think that lasting contentment in using these gifts comes from placing them in the the context of God’s sovereign purposes. That way, when we don’t get to use our abilities the way we want or do the things that we want, we can learn to be content. We can remind ourselves that it is not ultimately about us, and then enjoy the glorious freedom that comes with believing that reality.

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