The Apostle Paul writes, “I can almost hear some of you saying, ‘Branches had to be pruned to make for me.’ Yes, they were. They were removed because they did not believe; and you will stay attached, be strong and be productive only through faith. So don’t think to highly of yourselves; instead, stand in awe of God’s mercy. Besides we know that God did not spare the natural branches, so there is no reason to think He will spare you” (Romans 11:19-21, The Voice).
The Voice commentators write, “God is the Farmer who has tenderly grafted them into the sturdy stock on the basis of faith. So pride and arrogance are completely out of place for those grafted branches. They will bear fruit only as they remain connected by faith to the stock” (1515).
I often wonder how I could be so lucky. The better word of choice would be blessed. Who am I that God would choose for me to enter the world in this time in history? In this place in the world? I had a far easier time stumbling upon the gospel than maybe someone growing up in today’s Middle East or in first century China. Would I have believed in the gospel let alone even had the chance to hear it had I been born into another world religion or cultural perspective?
A few helpful (and somewhat haunting) warnings for those of us who follow Christ. What of value do I have to offer? My faith.
And so I pray that the people of my church and yours would resist the temptation to think too highly of ourselves. That we would remember that we were grafted in by grace and grace alone. We did not deserve to be born let alone reborn. But now we produce the fruit that is true to our Roots.