There is a Greek word that appears thirteen times in eleven verses in the New Testament that can be a help to us here. It’s the word metron. Among other places, it shows up in Romans 12 and Ephesians 4, where Paul is addressing the gifts and callings of Jesus followers. It means “a measuring rod” and is the root of such common words today as meter and speedometer. It speaks of a “determined extent, allotted measure, specific portion, limited degree.”
In Romans 12:3, we find metron translated as “measure”. The word is located right after the exhortation to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind’ and right before the listing of various spiritual gifts. It says, “…by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” The word “assigned” in this verse is merizo in Greek and means “to apportion, divide, impart, bestow, distribute a thing among a people.”
The following verse in Romans 12:4 states that although we are one body, “the members do not all have the same function.” Verse 6 goes on to state, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.”
What is Paul saying in these passages? God is the One Who “assigns, bestows and distributes” various “specific portions and allotted measures.” Our gifts differ according to God’s choosing and grace, and how we function within our gifts varies based on God’s design.
Each of us has been given various measures related to both capacity and influence. For example, I have two pastor friends, each functioning well in their gifts. One is a gifted teacher and the other is an effective organizational leader—these represent their measures of capacity. God has assigned one to serve a large flock and the other a smaller congregation with far-reaching missions influence—these represent their measures of influence. Both are God given.
I see these measures expressed within my family and friendships. My son is currently a middle school teacher while a friend is a college professor. My daughter works in the domain of health with skin care, while my daughter-in-law works at a hospital in trauma care. My wife uses coffee to beautifully paint her water colors, while friends of hers excel at more traditional forms of art. Each one has a unique God-given capacity and sphere of influence that is incomparable and invaluable to others. Peter, one of the original Twelve who followed Jesus, passed this on to those he was discipling: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
What’s important is that we steward well what we’ve been given right where we are at, allowing God to determine the fruit, whether it be 30, 60, or 100 –fold it’s original size (Matthew 13:1-23). The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 also reminds us that if we are faithful with what He’s given us, He’ll give us more! Ultimately we are judged on faithfully stewarding what God has assigned to us in both capacity and influence.
By the way, in case you tend to get caught up with a ‘bigger is always better” mentality, the life of Jesus reminds us that much can be done with few. His deliberate discipling of just twelve men rocked the first century and continues to impact the nations of the Earth today, centuries later. Now that’s serious impact!
1. What are some of the gifts God has entrusted to you? List them on a piece of paper. Give thanks for each one. Ask God to help you steward them well this week.
2. What are you passionate about? What gets you excited? List them on a piece of paper. Ask Father God to give you insight and discernment of how best you can operate in them this week. Ask Him to provide you opportunities to serve in these areas.
3. In the Domain in which God has placed you, ask God to show you how to best use your influence with others. Write them down. Pray over these in the weeks ahead. And be watchful to see the opportunities that God brings you to influence others.
4. Pray that the Lord would begin to reveal 2-3 others that are in your domain who are “hungry of heart”. Pray diligently for them this week.