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
How does God use you to serve others? For many people this seems like such a lofty task. Certainly God could find better people – maybe folks that weren’t so flawed or sinful. Well, guess what? All God has to work with are sinful, flawed people. And, He chooses to use us just the way we are. He wants to work through you and me.
This verse puzzled me for a while. Some concepts are thrown together here that just don’t seem to fit. We understand “stewardship,” but that usually has to do with giving financially, not with stewarding God’s grace. That’s a little confusing. Yet, Peter got it right.
I used to think that grace was kind of like rain. Grace just showered down from Heaven on all of us. It was our choice to either accept God’s grace or to reject it. If I wanted to put up an umbrella to avoid the drops of grace, that was my choice. But, God has designated believers as stewards (managers or administrators) of His grace. God has given us His grace. For most of us, we came to Christ through the encouragement of another person, whether a pastor, teacher, parent or friend. Their kindness and encouragement was a way of extending God’s grace to us.
The other interesting, and possibly confusing, combination here is gifts and grace. Grace seems to relate more to sin and salvation, not gifts and serving. Yet, the root word of “spiritual gifts” is “charismata.” This is where we get the word “Charismatic.” “Charismata” literally means “grace gifts.” Spiritual gifts are grace gifts. The Bible tells us that every believer has spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7) and that gifts are given according to God’s grace (Romans 12:6). When we use our spiritual gifts, we are showing good stewardship of God’s grace.
Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? The Bible gives us three lists of spiritual gifts: Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. Take a look at these lists and see which gifts might ring true. You can also discover your spiritual gifts and much more about yourself at the PLACE class in BrookwoodU. You will learn more about yourself, and you can also find out how God has uniquely gifted and equipped you for ministry.
God didn’t save us so that we could merely avoid Hell (even though that’s a pretty good motivator). God saved us, so we can bless others and win them to the Kingdom as well. This doesn’t mean that we’re all called to door-to-door evangelism. I’m certainly not, even though I’ve tried it. God calls every believer to a ministry uniquely designed for them. It might take a little trial and error to find the right fit, but once you do, you will never find anything better in life.
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