Summary: God has given us all the tools to be successful in life. He has graced-grafted,and gifted us, and we are expected to live in a certain way.


Text: Romans, Chapter 12


Try, if you will, to picture the following two scenes in the life of a “typical” family.

A father is talking with his daughter—a senior in high school—who is concerned about the next day’s event. The daughter says, “I’m nervous about tomorrow, because I’m taking the SAT Test for college.”

She knows how important the test score is when applying to the best colleges, and she knows the effect it will have on her future. The father replies, “Well, just do the best you can, but you know I expect my daughter to score a perfect 1600 on the test!”

The following day, the man’s son comes into his father’s office at work and says, “Dad, great news! I made the team!”

The father looks up from his work and says to the son, “Good, Son. But are you going to be the star?”

When I was coaching in high school, I found it difficult to coach my own son. Many great athletes started off the son of a Coach—maybe because of the advantage of a player living, literally 24/7, with his coach.

Now, of course, Steve wanted to be a great player; however, sometimes your physical assets (size and quickness) determine how good you actually can be.

Steve had slow feet, and even though his brain and the effort he put forth said, “I need to be over there”, his feet didn’t carry him quick enough. He was a good player, but his slow feet kept him from being a great player.

· Was it a case of not working hard enough? No, Steve worked hard.

· Was it because he was not committed enough? No, Steve was very committed.

· The reason Steve wasn’t a great player was that he was not blessed with the physical assets to enable him to be a great basketball player.

As a coach—and as a father—I never wanted him to think that his worth as a human to his mother and I was based on how many points he could score in a basketball game. Whether he became a starter—a star—or a great basketball player didn’t determine his value as a human being.

How does God look at us? What if He graded us strictly on an achievement level? God commended His love toward us while we were yet sinners. We were not doing very well at all at that time—but God loved us. God felt that saving us was worth the death of His Son on the cross at Calvary.

We were worth something to Him even then—but it sure wasn’t based on achievement! God does ask us for our best effort; and, as Paul told the Christians in Thessalonica,

1st Thessalonians 2:11-12

---11---“…just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a Father would his own children;

---12---So that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

“Saving Private Ryan”.

The movie Saving Private Ryan was on television last week. It’s a movie about the D-Day invasion during World War II. After the invasion, 8 soldiers are sent out in enemy territory to save one private. They were sent to bring Private Ryan back to safety, because all of his brothers had been killed in combat. He was the sole surviving son, and the Army wanted to send him back to his mother—alive.

As the story unfolds, the soldiers argue about the morality of risking all their lives to save one man. In one scene, one of the soldiers said, “Well, he better be a brain surgeon or something!”

He wasn’t—but all 8 men lost their lives saving Private Ryan.

The movie closes with Private Ryan going back to a cemetery in Europe where all eight men were buried. Ryan was now an old man, and all of his family followed him to the cemetery and to each grave. As the movie ends, Ryan is standing at the last grave remembering the events and, as he does, he starts crying. Looking at the grave, and old and gray Ryan pleads—“Please, tell me that I have been a good man!”

It was terribly important to him that he had lived a worthy life after eight brave men had sacrificed their lives for him! He didn’t want their sacrifice to have been in vain—he needed to know he had been worthy.

Romans, Chapter 12.

This morning, we come to Chapter 12 in our journey through Paul’s letter to the Romans. This is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, because, as a Christian, if I ever get to wondering— “Who am I?”, or “What is expected of me?”, or “How should I be living my life?”—I can come to this chapter of Romans and it answers those questions for me and for all Christians.

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