“Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10 (CSB)
Have you ever been envious of another person’s talents — or even their spiritual gifts — secretly wishing you were more like them?
I remember being envious of one woman who was fabulous at all things crafty. She could sew. She made her own greeting cards and knitted darling mittens for her kids.
On the other hand, I do not have an ounce of crafters blood coursing through my veins. My own children knew better than to bring me a badge to sew on their uniforms when they were younger. I would reach for the hot glue gun!
Yet another woman had the spiritual gift of evangelism and seemed to effortlessly share the gospel with others while I became tongue-tied when I tried.
Even though each of us as believers has been fashioned by God in a unique way, sometimes it is tempting to look at somebody else with their particular package of strengths and abilities and wish we possessed it.
In time, I finally came to the place where I decided to discover — and then be content with — my specific wiring when it came to natural talents and spiritual gifts. How freeing this was! Rather than looking at one of my siblings in Christ, wishing I held their abilities, I began watching God use me as He touched the lives of others.
First Peter 4:10 speaks about the gifts we’ve been given: “Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God.” From this verse, it is clear that not just some of us, but every single one of us has received a gift.
When I set about discovering my distinct skills, I found out I have a knack for cooking and baking. I can use this interest to reach out to a new neighbor with a loaf of pumpkin bread or to help lighten the load of a hurting family from church by making them supper one night.
And, as a person who loves to talk, I discovered I have the spiritual gift of encouragement. (Romans 12:8) I can use my words — whether spoken, typed or texted — to uplift and cheer others. In fact, encourage means, “to impart courage.” My words can reassure others, “I believe in you. You can do it!” These inspiring words might help them bravely face what lies ahead.
Now, what is the purpose of having a gift? Is it so we can pat ourselves on the back for having it? Nope. Look again at what 1 Peter 4:10 says, “… use it to serve others.”
You are not the intended recipient — the people in your life are. Your gift is a tool God will use to serve others, to build them up and help them find their places in His Kingdom.
Another fact to note? We don’t all have identical gifts. There is nothing matchy-matchy about the ways we serve. We are stewards of “the varied grace of God.” The word varied in the original Greek language is poikilos — perhaps my most favorite word of this verse. It means many colored, diverse and manifold.
Wait, what does manifold mean? Since my husband, son, brother and stepbrother all build cars for a living, I know there is a car part called a manifold. Maybe its definition can help shed some light on this concept: A system of pipes that divides a flow and carries it to more than one place.
What an accurate depiction of what our gifts do for the family of God! When we accept that we’re not all the same, we maximize, carrying the love of God to more than one place, compounding the impact we have on the lives of those within our sphere of influence.
God, in His infinite wisdom, knows exactly what type of people will be drawn to His heart through the gifts, abilities and resources each of us possesses.
Make it your aim to not only discover but to embrace and then use your unique talents to touch the lives of others for the sake of the gospel.
Father, help me to not envy the abilities You have given others but to discern the ones You have given me. Then, may I use them for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 Corinthians 12:4, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.” (NIV)
For a helpful resource that will help you discover and use your gifts and talents — and even craft your own spiritual resumé — grab a copy of Karen’s latest book, Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart and Home.
Join Karen on her Instagram for some tips on discovering your talents and spiritual gifts, as well as a chance to win one of three copies of Reach Out, Gather In: 40 Days to Opening Your Heart and Home.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
What are some of your spiritual gifts? What are one or two ways you can use them to serve those around you and bring God glory?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2020 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.