February 20, 2017
In Peter’s first letter to the church abroad, he exhorts his readers, “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 Peter 4:10). When we consider these words in light of being “fully alive” to the glory of God, we see that the spiritual gifts we receive are from God and for the sake of others, that grace might abound.
Assumed in Peter’s instruction is that all Christians have received a gift. We read about some of these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11: wisdom, faith, healing, prophecy, discernment, etc. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit “distributes them to each one” – no one misses out on the blessing. Regardless of our title or position within the church, God expects us all to play a part in doing his work.
Are we free to use our gifts for personal gain, or hide them away due to a sense of inadequacy? No, they are to be given away! Look to the example of Christ: Jesus resisted the temptation to use his power selfishly (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Instead he “made himself nothing” in service to others (Philippians 2:6-8). We are blessed to be a blessing; we receive the gift that we might give it away.
We must also get over the false pretense that what we have to offer does not measure up. When we recognize God as the source, we know that whatever he provides is sufficient. In his commentary on 1 Peter, Matthew Henry writes, “We must not assume [the gifts] to ourselves, nor hide them in a napkin, but do service with them one to another in the best manner we are able.” It is each person’s responsibility, then, to develop their gift and put it to good use.
Michael Frost describes the Kingdom of God as “God’s reign of reconciliation, justice, beauty, and wholeness” (Surprise the World, p. 98). Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom not only with his words but with his actions: bringing reconciliation between God and humankind, between Jew and Gentile; speaking up for the poor, the stranger, and the imprisoned; affirming extravagant acts of beauty; and healing the afflicted. Whenever we use our gifts to accomplish these purposes, we can be confident that we are faithful stewards of God’s grace.
We are “Christ’s ambassadors,” those who proclaim the message of reconciliation on Christ’s behalf (2 Corinthians 5:20). May we not squander the opportunity to use our gifts in service to others. In doing so, we will find ourselves “fully alive” to the glory of God!
At Sioux Falls Seminary we are humbled by the opportunity to participate in God’s Kingdom mission. It is a privilege to develop faithful stewards of God’s grace for service in Sioux Falls, in this region, and around the world. We hope you’ll join us on mission.