“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 4:10-11
In our text above, we see the Apostle Peter feeding the sheep of God. He reminds the followers of Christ that they are recipients of a gift. What gift? Varied grace. What grace is Peter referring to? He is referring to the unique grace that God bestows upon individuals that we regularly refer to as spiritual gifts. Grudem defines spiritual gifts as follows: “A spiritual gift is any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in any ministry of the church.” Let’s look at five things that Peter covers in our text.
First, it is fundamentally important that every true Christian understand that God has given you a spiritual gift. God equips all of his children…period. To say that you do not have a God given gift is to make God a liar. In addition, this gift is unique to you. This is why it is referred to a “varied.”
Second, gifts can be summed up in two ways: 1) speaking and 2) serving. It is not complicated. Too often, Christians complicate the spiritual gifts. We wrongly see spiritual gifts as only miraculous, but the miraculous is not the norm for everyday Christian life (this is still true if you believe that those miraculous gifts continue after the apostles.) Likewise, most use of gifts won’t be “out in front”, but will be behind the scenes. We see a beautiful picture of this in Acts 4:32-37. In the early church, the Apostles were teaching and overseeing while the rest of the Church was serving. The potential ratio of teaching to serving was 1 to 1000.
Third, if God has given you a gift, then he expects you to use it. This is what Peter means when he says “as good stewards.” If you don’t use the gift God gave you, you are by definition a bad steward, and God is not pleased.
Fourth, the use of this God given gift is not for your benefit, it is for the benefit of others. Your gift is not about you, it is about the building up and the edification of your brothers and sisters. If you choose not to use your gift, you are ultimately choosing not to love your family.
Fifth, your gift is not for your glory, it is for God’s glory. One of the sure fire ways that Satan makes a ship wreck out of one’s faith is by taking the grace of God and turning it into an idol. I see this time and time again. Christians, because of their sin, use their gifts so that they receive praise from man. Jesus has some strong words for people who serve for the praise of man, “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:2).
If we keep these five points in mind the ultimate outcome is “in everything God [will] be glorified.”