Our scripture this morning is Romans 12:9-12.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
Paul writes to followers of Jesus in Rome with words of support. If you think it was tough to be a Christian in Israel, imagine what being faithful in the capital of the empire would be like. Persecution was a daily threat and many Roman Christians died for their faith.
He speaks of gifts that will help them endure the oppression they face – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer”. We also have these gifts from God available in our lives. Our task is to share them so that others may come to know God and be saved as well.
Our faith is important to keep us strong when life is difficult, knowing that all earthly things are temporary and we have been promised an eternal home with God. By serving Him here we are part of Christ’s Great Commission to us to “go and make disciples of all the world” (Matthew 28:19). God needs no help from us but He graciously calls us to be part of what He is doing in creation.
Loving Lord, we are grateful for all Your many gifts, none more important than our savior, Jesus Christ. Help us to remain faithful even when it is difficult, rejoicing in the hope that salvation brings. Amen.