Gifted to serve
If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11 CSB
Peter continues to instruct the readers to cultivate mutual love by exhorting one another and serve one another. In a previous chapter he writes, “Have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22). Peter alludes to God’s law which Jesus taught in the summary: “Love the Lord your God and … love your neighbor” (Matthew 22:37–39). Furthermore, Peter refers to the well-known command of Jesus, “Love one another” (John 13:34). From the text, Peter finishes up this section on the theme of gifts and how to love and serve one another. Because we belong to the body of Christ, every one of us has some kind of gift. In faith we should ask God for additional talents. And God who takes delight in granting us gifts dispenses His grace in various forms. Peter divides the potential massive list of individual gifts into two broad categories: speaking and serving. Speaking can mean preaching or teaching. To those who are called to preach and deliver God’s message, Peter reminds them that the words being spoken should be from God and not from your own. But the gift of speaking can be seen in other areas, such as encouragement, evangelism, leadership and many more. The same admonishment by Peter applies: may the words you use be from God and not from your own. Then, Peter’s second gift category is service. Serving can be any type of assisting ministry that directly helps the body of Christ, the church, with whatever skillset you may have “from the strength God provides.” In light of Christ’s return, believers are called to speak and serve wholly dependent on God for this very reason: “So that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything.” These gifts are a grace from God, and in so doing, the attention should not be on the one enacting the gift, you, but on the One who gave it who is the Lord. Motivated by the hope in the Lord, believers are called to love one another and serve one another until they are in the presence of the Lord. God owns all gifts even while they are in our possession. He does not grant us His gifts for our personal enjoyment; He gives them for the benefit of the body of Christ. We must be faithful stewards who, by continually extending the benefit of these gifts to others, function as channels of God’s grace. Also, we ought to be humble as we administer the gifts given to us. We should realize that we possess only some talents, while God has given gifts that we lack to others. All of us in the Christian church, therefore, ought to serve one another so that we can mutually benefit from the variety of riches God has granted his people.
Isaac De Guzman