For 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 faith God has distributed to each of you. (NIV)
We’ve been talking now for a couple weeks about making room. We’re making room at our crowded tables for one more friend, in crowded churches for one more congregant, and in crowded houses for one more guest. But making room doesn’t start at the table or the church. Making room has to start inside us.
What are you thinking about when you open your door? You’re making a commitment to answer whatever is on the other side of that threshold. Whenever you pick up your phone, whenever you turn to someone calling out, you are prepared to answer. To truly make room for others, we don’t just open the door, we don’t just change how we act. We have to change how we think.
That’s why we have to stop thinking “more highly” of ourselves and realize we are one of many. God has entrusted each of us with unique gifts. When we combine all of our different talents to accomplish a goal, we can master any task and cross the finish line with ease. Each of us is one small part of the body of Christ. Coming together to build the Kingdom of God, we are all a crucial part of the operation. We’re all special. We’re all unique in the eyes of God.
The person at your door or on the phone or handing out flyers for charity at the mall, they’re asking you for something, they’re asking you to offer them a way forward. When we realize this, when we use our “sober judgment,” we see what God is telling us. Our “measure of faith” is great enough; we have the strength to help pull these people in, to work with them to build the Kingdom of God. Our “measure of faith” has been given to us so that we can be the ones to offer and we can be ones to make room. And it isn’t enough to just act like that; we must also learn to think like that. We must learn to humble ourselves enough to think about what the person on the other side of the door needs when they knock, and how we can come together for God.
What God was doing when He made you, when He opened faith and the truth to you, was giving you the opportunity to offer yourself to others who weren’t there yet.
On the surface, most of us will accept this basic point. Yes, we are all equal in God’s eyes. Yes, no one who accepts Him is above anyone else. Yes, we are all one small part of the body—a critical part that is necessary for all other parts to function at their best. But the challenge is to think like that. Not just to acknowledge that fact, but to let our minds run on it and create a new way of envisioning the world.
On some level, we are selfish creatures. We want to take the greater share of everything for ourselves and our loved ones, we want to bar the gates and keep everything inside for our own inner circle. When we aren’t thinking, even those of us with great faith can fall into that default setting. God is telling us to watch out for that. Every individual struggling to get through that door is as entitled to your love and compassion as any other. We have to make room in our minds to accommodate that reality. Once we do that, it becomes obvious that we must open our churches, our homes, and also our hearts as we live for God, leading others to a new life in Him.