“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly…” (Rom. 12:3)
Usually, when we hear the word sober we think of someone who is not intoxicated with alcohol. They are not drunk; they are sober. But that is not what this word means, here.
Paul is exhorting us to “think soberly.” The word soberly here is a Greek word which means to think sensibly; to think reasonably; to think realistically. One commentator says this word means to recognize your limits and respect them.
As a pastor, it is easy to try and become all things to all people. You want to please everyone and hopefully be a blessing to everyone. But the truth is, sometimes, in an effort to make everyone happy you take on more than you should. Then, the very thing you are trying to do to be a blessing ends up becoming a burden that God never meant for you to carry.
You do realize that even GOOD things can become burdens, right?
I believe Paul is saying to us in this verse, “Learn to think soberly. Recognize your God-given abilities and use them for His glory, but when you come to the edge of your limitations, be willing to say, ‘This is too much for me.’”
This verse really hit home for me, recently.
Over a year ago, I sent out a few devotionals to our church through a texting app we use. I received a great response from people asking me to continue the devotionals, so I did. For over a year I have sent out five daily devotions each week, hoping to be an encouragement.
But I have come to realize, rather reluctantly, that although I am trying to do a good thing, it has simply become more than I can keep up with. Around the time I began the daily devotions, I also began teaching our Single Focus Sunday School Class, a very needed ministry for our church.
At first, it was no problem. But after a while, having to study for three sermons, a Sunday School lesson, AND write five devotions every week, began to take its toll. I would like to say I handled it with the greatest of ease, but the honest truth is, it often became a chore for me. Many times, because of other pressing ministry needs that needed to be done, I found myself falling behind and would even have to spend my off day writing and editing devotionals so I could get them done in time.
So, when I read this verse, it convicted me. Yes, preachers get convicted, too! ?
I have had to be honest with myself and realize my own limitations. And that hasn’t been easy for me. So, I plan to finish out the month of October writing my devotions, but then I will have to stop. This may be permanent, or God may prompt me to begin again at a later time when things have changed.
But, as I preach to others about obeying what God tells you to do, I must also take that advice and listen when He speaks to me.
Thank you for all the encouragement I have received from my devotions. It makes me happy to know they have brightened someone’s day.