Romans chapter 12 is both prescriptive and descriptive in nature. It is prescriptive in that it details what it means to be a “living sacrifice”, how to show hospitality, and how to live peaceably with other human beings. It is descriptive in that it lists some of the spiritual gifts granted to God’s people. These gifts don’t sound supernatural on the surface, but to practice them certainly requires a person to be led by the Spirit of God.
I’ve known some older Christians who feel this chapter is so vital to be understood and practiced that they read it daily. Though I read it more frequently than many other passages, I haven’t moved to that point in life quite yet. Maybe I should.
I have known only a handful of disciples of Jesus who I would call Romans 12 Christians. What do I mean? I mean that their lives look like a snapshot of the things Paul prescribes and describes in this portion of his deep letter to the Roman believers.
No one comes to my mind who so fully personified such a person of character, faith, and love as my dearly and recently departed friend, Jack Clark. So full of spiritual giftedness and humility of spirit was Jack that I could not write this while he was still on this side of eternity. He would have chastised me, gently, but chastised me for sure.
Jack was a veteran of the Korean War. He was born into poverty (but didn’t know it at the time). He went on to become a highly successful businessman. He married the love of his life: a beautiful woman of impeccable character. He rose to great heights, but his feet never left the ground.
Jack Clark served quietly. He was a generous man, far beyond what anyone truly knows. He gave of his time, his talent, his money, and his whole life. He showed absolutely no partiality towards people of estate greater than him or those beneath him (as the world defines such). Jack was Jack to all who knew him.
He set the example of love and devotion to family for his employees. He set the example of generosity to fellow Christians. He set the example of humility to all who knew him. He truly was a Romans 12 Christian.
When I was a young minister, I spent many mornings at Jack’s kitchen table sharing a cup (actually a pot) of coffee. He was like a father to me. He was truly a father in the faith. My life is so much richer and my life in ministry so much more mature because of his profound influence on me.
I loved Jack. I will miss him sorely. Thank God, I will see him again.