1 Peter #15 1 Peter 4: 10-11 Glorifying God Through Impassioned Gifts
There was more to consider from our teaching last time so let’s pick up where we left off in our exploration of 1 Peter.
Peter has written about being a good steward. A steward is like a fiduciary. A fiduciary is someone who holds assets in trust for someone else. They manage the estate of another person. One of the four key relationships that are necessary to live your life to the full is your relationship with the earth. From previous teachings, we know that a right relationship with the earth means you handle well all the material blessings that God has entrusted you with. You realize that you are managing God’s assets. In other words, you don’t own your stuff when you bend your knee to Jesus you gave it all to Him and He in turn entrusts you with His stuff. That concept gives you a little more insight into the hymn of the Church “All to Jesus I Surrender;” “All to Jesus I surrender all to Him I freely give.” Asset management of material resources is not the only stewardship assignment. Being a good steward is also about using the spiritual gifts God has entrusted you with.
1 Peter 4:10-11 (MSG)
Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
When you bent the knee to Jesus and God made you one of His own you were sealed with the Holy Spirit and along with that sealing you were endowed with a spiritual gift. A spiritual gift “is not a natural talent or ability, it is a God-given capacity for service” that empowers each believer “to match their deep passions with the world’s deep need” [Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 4-11, 28-31] (Powers, p. 133) (https://www.umc.org/en/content/spiritual-gifts). If you are a believer you have been allowed to fulfill a unique role in the Kingdom. The purpose of these spiritual gifts is to serve others, strengthen brothers and sisters, and meet the needs of others (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
In his letters to the various congregations that the Apostle Paul ministered to he wrote of these endowments. The congregations in and around Rome Paul writes of Prophesying, Serving, Teaching, Encouraging, Giving, Leading, and Showing Mercy (Romans 12:7). To the believers in Corinth he listed the following gifts: a message of wisdom, A message of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healing, Miraculous powers, Prophecy, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in different kinds of tongues, The interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:7-12). To the folks in Ephesus, these supernatural gifts of the Spirit include Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, and Helpers (Ephesians 4:11-16). Peter might add—don’t forget the gift of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9). Some bible teachers add exhortation, shepherding, administration, “helps,” and craftmanship. Sitting in a pew and doing nothing is not a spiritual gift. Seeking spiritual gifts is a rather odd endeavor, “God give to me the gift of healing, the gift of miraculous deeds, gimme, gimme, gimme.” Paul suggests if you are going to desire any gift from God ask Him to give you the capacity to love (1 Corinthians 12:31, 13:13). The greater gifts of the Spirit are all manifestations of selfless love.
You’ve been given a Kingdom passion. Peter writes—be a good steward of what God has given. Peter categorizes these gifts into words and deeds. What you say and what you do are to glorify God.
When believers speak, they are to do so with a purpose that honors God. It’s not the ego trip of thinking you are speaking the words of God or trying to manipulate someone with “God told me to tell you.” Rather it is paying attention to what we are going to say so that what you are saying builds and blesses. You don’t want to be using God’s name in vain.
Reflecting on Genesis God asks Cain where his brother is and Cain deflects his answer with a question, Am I my brother's keeper, or as the Message paraphrase puts it, “his babysitter?” From the passage, there is the distinct feeling that God does see each of us as companions that are to love and care for one another. With that being said, there will be times when you may have to point out a shortcoming, a flaw, or even a sinful behavior to a brother or sister. Love lets the inconsequential slide but not at the detriment of another’s spiritual well-being, especially if their behavior is affecting the Church and reflecting poorly on the Kingdom. Confrontation seems to be a dirty word in the Church, but when done with compassion and gentleness it can be healing.
Dr. Peter Lawless is the dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary in North Carolina and he has published 11 tips for Confronting Others in a Godly Way ( https://outreachmagazine.com/features/leadership/66468-11-tips-for-confronting-others-in-a-godly-way.html). He advises--
1. Make sure you’re walking with God. If you’re not being faithful in other areas of your life, I doubt you should expect God’s blessing in confrontation.
2. Check your heart. If your motive is revenge or harm or gloating, don’t take the next step until your heart is right.
3. Pray before you start the conversation. The Holy Spirit is much better than we are at helping us and others realize our wrongs.
4. Recognize that not confronting can open the door for the Enemy.
5. Do your homework. Get your facts straight before you confront them.
6. Consider possible reactions, responses, and goals ahead of time. Wise preparation can take you a long way down the right path.
7. Clarify and state your goal: Your goal should be to strengthen a brother or sister in Christ, not hurt him or her.
8. Ask questions more than make statements.
9. Work toward a stated solution.
10. Keep praying silently (and together if needed) during the conversation.
11. Assume you will pray together after the conversation. When you start the conversation knowing it will end with prayer, you’ll be more careful in what you say and how you say it.
When confronting, and for that matter speaking, “believers must be careful to ensure that their words convey the true intentions of God, not their own” (Powers, p. 134). You are an ambassador, you represent Jesus. Imagine what Jesus would say, and then say it as He would say it. This way your words will glorify God.
Peter also speaks of service. Service is ministry, the ministry is love, and love is seeking to meet the needs of others. When you are serving by utilizing your spiritual gift, you are not using your strength, but taping into God’s power. His gift is to flourish in His power, and it does so when you use your gift for His glory.
You may be wondering what your spiritual gift is after it was given when you first believed before you even knew that spiritual gifts are given at conversion. Here’s my advice, don’t worry about what gift you have. Rather love others out of your passion. What are passionate about, what do you get fired up doing? You are dragging, tired, and worn out, what do you do for others that just recharge your emotional tanks? What are you compelled to do for others, even at the cost of time and energy, and maybe money? Whatever that deed is, that’s most likely your spiritual gift. When you see people being encouraged and helped by what you are doing that’s all the confirmation you need. Here’s the key, you’ve got to do something to discover what you’ve been gifted to do. Decide how you are going to strengthen the church and give it a try.
The words and deeds, and the use of spiritual gifts not only build people up, drawing them closer to God, but they also glorify God. The glory of God is a physical manifestation of His presence. When we talk of glory we are saying what we experienced shouted God in our hearts. To glorify God, to make His presence known is why you use your spiritual gifts. Spirit-filled words and deeds reveal the presence of God. Encountering the presence of God is a powerful experience. For the believer, it is uplifting and assuring. For those outside, it can serve as the motivation to compel them to come inside. The result of both is applause for God throughout eternity.
Being a good steward involves more than just managing material assets well, a good steward also manages the non-material well. When you bent the knee to Jesus, you were endowed with a spiritual gift. “To each one a manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Peter tells us to share that gift. By ministering to others through your giftedness, in the power of God, you bring God glory. That’s a job well done. Go do it.