Galatians 2:1-10

When a retired minister in my home church learned that I was planning to enter seminary, this wise man invited me to his home to talk about his long experience as a pastor. Our wide-ranging conversation gave me fresh insight into the scope of church ministry. I gained new appreciation for someone I had respected but not previously known. “What did you find to be the hardest part of being a pastor?” I asked. “Helping everyone in the church value the contribution of everybody else,” he replied. I didn’t fully understand the significance of his words at the time. But my own years as a pastor often brought those words to mind. They helped me reflect on Paul’s insistence that we see the church as a human body with many members, each having a vital function for the health of the whole.

Since the church began, our diverse experiences of God’s gifts and callings have created tension and conflict. Paul’s meeting with church leaders in Jerusalem is a case study in how Christians with different religious experiences can affirm the distinct contributions each person or group makes within the body of Christ. In our passage, Paul shares his experience of following Christ and
the results of his work as an apostle to the Gentiles. He seeks their understanding and approval of his mission, though it differs from their own. With joy and hope, Paul reports that James, Cephas, and John recognized the grace that had been given to me (v. 9).

How difficult I sometimes find it to discern and celebrate the
grace that has been given to someone else. How often I need to
remember the wideness in God’s mercy and the many people through
whom God makes it known.


Think of someone who expresses their faith differently than you do. How could you recognize and affirm the grace God has given to them?


God, thank you for the grace you give to me. Help me see your gracious ways in the lives of others. Amen.

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