"Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made,—who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Clement 38)Regardless of our rank, function, or place in the Church, we have received it, not according to our own righteousness nor our strength or ability, but simply according to His will and His grace. Even before we were born, before any acts of worthiness were performed by us, God destined us for a place and purpose in His church; not because of what we had done but because of what He had chosen. Paul reminds us,
"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)Our gifting and calling are not because we are something great, but simply due to God's selection. "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills." (1 Corinthians 12:11) However, it is the conceit of the proud that does not understand this and that seeks to be first and to claim the highest place.
"Foolish and inconsiderate men, who have neither wisdom nor instruction, mock and deride us, being eager to exalt themselves in their own conceits." (1 Clement 39)Pride destroys community within the church and promotes strife, division, and sedition. Let us rather choose humility which promotes the building up of the whole body for the common good.