“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another.” (1 Peter 4:10, NKJV)
Two fours and two twelves. Those are chapters of the epistles that focus on spiritual gifts. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 each lend perspective to the use of spiritual gifts as well as to the variety. Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4 address spiritual gifts in a more categorical manner. All the passages, however, have one thing in common. Gifts are given by God for the good of the body.
Peter puts it this way: “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pet. 4:10). “Each” speaks to us as individuals. When we take stock of our talents that God particularly uses, we want to remember that we have received that ability from God. As such, we are stewards of that gift and entrusted with the responsibility for its use.
Throughout the body of believers we see diverse abilities representing the multifaceted grace of God displayed in His servants throughout Scripture. Peter emphasizes that we not only serve God in the exercise of our gifts, we serve one another. Together we are greater than our individual parts, not in competition with one another but in completion of one another.
Peter identifies two categories of gifts: speaking and serving. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Pet. 4:11). In other words, there are those gifted in teaching, their subject matter being the Word of God, and those gifted in serving, ministering through their practical efforts. We might see elders and deacons as the ordained roles representative of these categories.
Whatever we do, however, we are to exercise our gifts for the glory of God. Peter goes on: “that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11). Our gifts are not for personal aggrandizement but for the blessing of others and for the building up of the body, to the glory of God.
REFLECTION: The body of Christ displays the individuality of jigsaw puzzle pieces that finds purpose among the whole.
Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.