Summary: God has empowered each one of us to engage so that we can express love to one another and so that we can exalt Him.
The Beijing Olympics has come and gone. Sadly, our athletes did not win a single medal, let alone a gold medal. Yes, we won a gold medal in Wushu. But it did not affect our medal standing because it is just a demonstration event. I am not putting down our athletes. They tried to compete against all odds. I guess it’s so frustrating on their part to be told to do or to achieve something but they just can’t do it because they lack the logistics during their training. Our government failed to invest in sports development.
I thank God that He is not like our government when it comes to the game of life. When God calls, He enables. That’s a saying that I have always believed. Let us open our Bibles in 1 Peter 4:10-11. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” As we continue our study on the “one another” commands, we will see that when God calls us to engage, to get involved, He empowers us to do just that. This morning, we will launch into a series on spiritual gifts.
When we talk about the spiritually gifted, we usually think it belongs only to super-Christians or pastors or missionaries. But to ordinary believers like us, we can’t imagine ourselves as spiritually gifted. But verse 10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” Note the words “Each one… has received”. That’s you and me. God has empowered EACH ONE of us to engage. He gave every believer at least one spiritual gift. In the Greek, the root of the word “gift” is “grace.” That’s why we also call it “grace-gifts.”
You may be asking, “When did we receive these gifts?” The moment we received the Lord Jesus as Savior, not only did He save us, He also gave us spiritual gifts. Like our salvation, we received these gifts by God’s grace. That means God gave it to us not because of our merits but because He chose to freely give it to us.
What are gifts? In his book “He Gave Gifts” Chuck Swindoll gave this definition: “A spiritual gift is a skill or ability that enables each Christian to perform a function in the body of Christ with ease and effectiveness.” When you are gifted to do something, you can really do it well.
Now a spiritual gift is not a natural talent. Singing is a talent. Though a singer can be called a gifted singer, singing is not a spiritual gift. When we were born physically, we were born with talents. When we were born spiritually, we were born with spiritual gifts. But we may express our spiritual gifts through our talents. For example, a believer may have the gift of encouragement and the talent of singing. She could encourage people with her songs. A spiritual gift is also different from a ministry or an area of responsibility in the church. For example, a person who has the gift of teaching does not automatically have to become a pastor or a Sunday school teacher. He may express it through writing children’s books.
Is there a list of gifts in the Bible? Let us read verse 11: “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides”. Here in our passage, Peter gave only two examples of gifts, speaking and serving. If we want to research more about grace-gifts, read also Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Ephesians 4:11. We will look into those passages in the coming weeks.
Now that we know God gave us gifts, we may be asking, “So what? Now what?” It is now our responsibility to discover and develop our gifts. Let us go back to verse 10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” Note the clause, “faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The New American Standard Bible translated it this way: “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We are accountable to God for our use of His gifts. We are His stewards or managers. “The word denotes a slave who was responsible for managing his master’s property or household and for distributing wages, food, etc. to its members”.