Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Pet 4:10).
God gave you a gift. A spiritual gift.
Of course, you have plenty of natural aptitudes, interests, and abilities that make you uniquely you. You can and should serve God with your IQ, physical strength, education, social connections, cheery disposition, wealth, and time.
But you’ve also received a spiritual gift from the Lord—a unique ability you have more than most others in your congregation. They have their gifting, and you have yours. And those gifts are meant to be used.
The goal is not to use it for yourself. That is, it’s not to make yourself great, to build your brand or reputation, or to manipulate people. The purpose is to serve others, especially believers in the local church. Spiritual gifts are for the common good (cf. 1 Cor 12:7). In other words, Peter sees the whole church as ministering together for one another. As A. M. Stibbs says:
“Such equipment for service is not, therefore, to be thought of as restricted to a privileged minority in the Church, i.e., the special ministers. Every Christian may expect particular divine endowment for some form of ministry, and he should recognize his corresponding responsibility before God as a steward for its proper use.”[i]
If you think of your congregation, does God mean for you to sit passively in the pews week after week, never serving, and so, never blessing others, and never growing yourself?
Because your gift is for the church, don’t consider it your personal property to be used however you see fit. Think of it as being held in trust, so act as a faithful steward. You didn’t earn the gift. Instead, God gave it to you out of grace. The church has many different needs, so God has given gifts in various forms for the sake of the community.
Normal church life requires all the gifts to function together, which means you need the other community members to minister to you as much as they need you to minister to them. You cannot grow in isolation without your brothers and sisters in Christ. The gifts emphasize the connection between all the members. As Stibbs explains:
“the members of the Christian community are thereby made by God interdependent. No one Christian believer can fully enjoy the benefits of the grace of God in Christ, or fully express the new activities it makes possible, in isolation. For Christians can receive essential help, and themselves fulfill their individual calling to service, only in active intercourse together.”[ii]
As you meet as the church, make every effort to change the culture from spectating to serving.
[i] Stibbs, 1 Peter, 156.
[ii] Stibbs, 1 Peter, 156.
Send your questions or comments to Shawn.