In her poem entitled “A Christmas Carol,” 19th-century author Christina Rossetti wrote: “What can I give Him, \ Poor as I am? \ If I were a shepherd \ I would bring a lamb, \ If I were a Wise Man \ I would do my part,—\ Yet what I can I give Him, \ Give my heart.”
How are those without the law supposed to worship God? What kind of sacrifices should they offer? Paul’s message that Gentiles did not need to adhere to the law of Moses to be accepted by God raised a practical question. This would also have been important for Gentiles who were familiar with the sacrifices of idol worship. In verse 1, Paul describes a different kind of offering that pleases God. We are not just to offer Him our heart but our whole body.
The apostle explains what this looks like in verse 2. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices when we are transformed by the truth of God’s Word. The word “therefore” links this offering to all that Paul has said in the previous chapters. Our sacrifice is a response to the grace we have received. It is not an attempt to earn or even measure up to our salvation. Although we offer ourselves to God, Paul explains that we serve one another as the body of Christ. Like the human body, where each part serves an important function and contributes to the overall wellbeing of the whole, believers should each employ their individual gifts in order to build up one another (vv. 4–8).
>> Do you know what your spiritual gift might be? Understanding the way God has gifted you can help you serve the body of Christ, for “each member belongs to all the others” (v. 5). If you don’t know, begin by answering these questions: What do I enjoy doing for others? Is there some form of ministry that appeals to me?
Lord, please reveal to us the gifts you have given us to serve you. Grant us opportunities to use our strengths in ministry—and give us grace in our areas of weakness. All the glory is yours!