Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function. So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. Romans 12:2-5
It is my last week in Massachusetts with my sweet grandson. I say “sweet” because he is most of the time, but there are times when his Moser stubborn streak pops up. For example, yesterday his parents announced that it was time to clean up all the toys scattered about the house. “No,” he said politely and cheerfully, “I don’t like to clean up. I just like to mess up. You clean up.” This did not go over that well, but I will tell you that the conversation ended in a stand-off and the toys are still not put away as I write this. Sometimes he tends to get, as my Mama Tucker used to say, too big for his britches. I think that is what Paul had in mind when he wrote these words to the church in Rome.
There are times when I just want my own way. I want what I want and I want it now! There are times when I think it is quite important for me to have it my way. Just like the grandson. And then I have to stop and think that I just may not be the most important person in the world, and my wants may not be nearly as important as my neighbor’s needs. Is it really important for me to have a $20.00 lobster roll while I am here in lobster country if there are neighbors of mine who must work to scrape together enough for a McDonald burger? If wearing a mask makes me feel hot and uncomfortable, is my comfort more important than the risk to someone else’s health if I do not wear it?
As much as it pains me to admit, I feel the sting of Paul’s words. I have to admit that I am not any more important than anyone else, and in fact I just may not be AS important as my neighbor in need, and that Jesus invariably sided with the poor and the voiceless against the rich and powerful. I am reminded of the Toilet Paper Wars we had a few months back, when everyone was out to get abundant toilet paper for our own families even if others had to do without. As Mama Tucker also said, “It’s not always about you.” She was right. Paul would no doubt agree.
I will be leaving Massachusetts on Friday to return to New Bern. I will miss my grandson. He has Thursday all planned out for activities we will do together all day. I hope I can hold up. As for now, maybe I’ll go help him pick up some toys.
O Jesus, let me walk with thee in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
Teach me thy patience; still with thee in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong.
O God of mercy and grace, keep us, your often-wayward children, in your sight and care. Give us eyes to see your path of goodness and love, and help us to lift the needs of our sisters and brothers in you ahead of our own desires. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser