1 Peter 4:10
Service: the act of doing something to help someone else. Growing up in the church, this is a word you hear all of the time. In fact, it is usually a huge part of your life. You teach Sunday School, feed the homeless, work in local food pantries, host block parties in local neighborhoods, do yard work for people throughout the community, paint in different buildings like schools, have VBS and backyard Bible clubs in apartment complexes, play bingo with people in nursing homes, canvas door-to-door at houses near your church, and the list goes on and on. These are all the different ways that my church offered for people to serve, and I wanted to be a part of everything. Well, at least it was that way in the beginning. At some point along the way, everything became more of a routine than anything else. Serving went from being a privilege to being a chore. I know that the Lord wanted me to serve, but at some point I had no more joy in serving. I came back to this simple question: how do we serve and why?
1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each of you has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” This verse reveals to us that servanthood is a requirement by God. It is not something we can simply just dismiss, it is a way of life. It is the way of living that God intended for those who are in Christ.
We Serve by Using Our Spiritual Gifts
The first part of 1 Peter 4:10 talks about every Christian being gifted to serve in some form or fashion. The Holy Spirit determines, because of His sovereign will, which gift goes to which believer. 1 Corinthians 12:4,11 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” Realize that God has gifted you. He gave you a precious gift, and he expects you to use it to further His Kingdom. So what are the spiritual gifts anyway? There are several of them: administration, exhortation, giving, mercy, prophecy, service, and teaching. God has gifted every one of His followers with a differing combination of these gifts. The reason that God gives us these gifts is for us to use them to glorify him. So if your gift is teaching, then maybe you need to get involved in teaching a Sunday School class. If your spiritual gift is giving, then give to those who are in need. What is unique is that God has gifted everyone differently. If he would have given us all the gift of teaching, then there would be no need for it; however, we would lack in every other area. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 Paul teaches, “Just as one body, though one, has many parts, but all of its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” Because the church is made up of many individuals with different gifts, God expects us to do our part and to depend on others for the areas in which we do no excel. He gave everyone a different gift knowing that each person would contribute in a different way thus forming one single body.
We Serve God for the Sake of Others
I have always heard that we are to have Joy. The “J” is for Jesus, the “O” for others, and the “Y” for yourself. Growing up in the church, I thought this saying was silly; little did I know how much truth there was to it. Matthew 22:37-39 says, “And is said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This verse is saying that Jesus has to come first and others have to come next which means you come last. There is a reason why these are the two greatest commandments and these verses are what bring truth to the meaning of “joy”. I have learned from experience what happens when we do not put God first, it ruins your attitude for the whole day. It also changes your motives to selfish gain. It is as simple as this: God’s word says He has to come first. You have to spend time with Him everyday because we need Him everyday. Jesus is the best example. He spent time with God the father everyday at the beginning of the day. Then, He would go out and serve others. His motives were pure because He put God first. The Bible says that Jesus came not to be served, but to SERVE, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus always put the Father first, then He focused on others, and He put himself last. When we truly focus on Christ and give Him the first part of everyday, our lives will be like His in this way.
We Serve To Be Faithful Stewards of God’s Grace
A lot of times when we hear about being a good steward, we think about being good stewards of our money and our time. However, this verse is not talking about us being good stewards of our money and time; essentially, it is telling us to be a good steward of what God has given you – a gift. Being a good steward means that we use the gifts (spiritual and physical) that God has given us to serve Him and to serve others. Remember the story about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25? A master entrusted three men with different amounts of money. Two of the men went out and earned the exact amount they had been given. However, the third man went out and buried his money to hide it. The master told the first two, “well done, good and faithful servant[s]. You have been faithful over little; I will set you over much.” To the one who went and hid the talent, he called him a wicked and slothful servant since he was not faithful with the little he was given. You see, Christ has entrusted each one of us, not just with money, but with everything that we have. He wants to see that we will be faithful in using what he has given us, then and only then will he entrust us with more.
So how can we start to change the way we serve? First, find out what your spiritual gift is. There are many different spiritual gift tests online that you can take to help you find out. If you already know what your spiritual gift is, then start using it if you are not already. Next, make sure that you put God first every morning because He has commanded us to put Him first. As a result, God will motivate you to love and serve others. This is what my problem was when I served at my church: I got in such a routine of serving all the time, that somehow I let my time with God slip away. It is not always easy to put God first, but He commands it. So we should be obedient. Lastly, be sure to be a good steward of all that God has given you. He wants to see that you are faithful with what He has given you before He blesses you with more. Since He gave you the ability to serve, do it!
Lord, thank You for giving us Jesus as the perfect example of how to serve. May we learn to put You first each and everyday and be motivated to love and serve others like Jesus. Help us to be faithful with all that You have given us so that we may be good stewards of You!