1 Peter 4:10-11, “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.”

When I was a young boy I didn’t think I’d ever want to speak in front of a room of people. I sunk into my seat when my teacher would be looking around the classroom to call the next person up to give a class presentation. As I grew older, my parents encouraged me to get into public speaking. I was in two competitions in 4-H where I had to give two speeches in front of a small auditorium full of people. I didn’t like it. I still get nervous when I have preaching opportunities. When I considered pastoral ministry I knew speaking in front of people was going to be a major part of it. I can’t think of pastoral ministry without thinking about preaching. Preaching requires eyes to be focused on you and ears to be attentively listening to every word you had to say. I was nervous for the most part, but I know now not to waste the gift that God has given me to serve His church. In 1 Peter 4:10-11, Peter encourages the Suffering Church that they show love to one another by using the gifts God has given them. If you are a Christian, you have a gift and you ought to use it to serve your fellow brothers and sisters.

A Christian doesn’t ever receive a gift from God with the command to remain idle with it. Gifts are given to be used as Paul says in Romans 12:6, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:” God has designed the local church to be a place where we can use the gift we have received. Immediately, after Peter acknowledges that we have been given a gift, he shows why that gift is given to us. We use it to serve one another. It is amazing how God not only brings us into fellowship with one another to worship Him, but he has given us gifts to serve one another. He shows how much He cares for us by giving us a gift to be able to serve the Body. Ultimately, this should remind us that the gift we received is not to be used for prideful purposes. God has been gracious to us in being able to serve others and be served. Remember, we are to be good stewards of this grace we’ve been given.

One of the two categories that Peter lists is speaking. He delves into what he means by speaking when he explains, “as one who speaks oracles of God.” What are the “oracles of God”? The oracles of God according to Dr. Thomas Schreiner “refer to the words that God has given his people.”[1] Are they reserved for only those who are in leadership in the church or those who have theological education? No! Though God does set aside those He would prepare for the task of preaching each Sunday, church members are given this gift as well. Church leaders are not the only ones able to teach. Being able to teach is a qualification, not a limitation only to those who would become pastors. There are numerous ways church members can serve in teaching capacities that does not involve serving in a church leadership role. Churches need teachers for their kids, senior adults, and even in discipleship relationships. God has created different avenues in His church that the gift of speaking His Word is needed.

The gift of service does not sit subpar to the gift of speaking. The gift of service truly shows that the local church is the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. It is interesting when we think about Jesus’s ministry in the Gospel accounts. He teaches the disciples and those who would be following Him, but He also served them. There seems to be a healthy balance of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet and also exhorting them to hear His instruction. If God has given you the gift of service don’t shy away from it. The Church needs Christians to serve as the Body grows. At the church, I serve we are growing out of our building. There is a demand for workers in the children’s ministry, welcome team, etc. I am grateful to see how God raises  people to serve in church where there are not many holes to fill. Serving the church may cause fatigue, but remember God gives you the strength needed to use the gift He has given you. We must remember we rest and depend on His strength to speak on His behalf and to serve Him.

Christian, what an exciting thing it is to have received a gift from the One who created all things and holds all things together. The King of Kings and Lords of Lords has given you a gift. Why wouldn’t we use it so that others both inside the church and outside the Church would see His goodness running through you? O that they would gaze upon the glory of God because of how you use your gift. Remember, He deserves the glory and dominion that belongs only to His Name, and He will retain it forever. While serving our Lord never forget that you are serving Him as a servant who has received abundant grace. Serve the Church and Him with this in mind.

[1] Thomas Schreiner, New American Commentary, 1,2 Peter Jude (Broadman Holman: Nashville Tennessee) p.215