Imagine for a moment that you have a friend whose son (or daughter) inherited a great sum of money. Because of his age, that money is being held for him, and his parent is overseer of the funds. One day, your friend comes to work and says, “Hey, would you like to go to the Caribbean with me? I’m covering the cost of travel, food, lodging, and entertainment. The trip is on me–it won’t cost you a thing.”
As you quiz him, you discover that he has gained access to his child’s money and is using it. He says, “It’s about time I broke some of that money out of the trust. Don’t worry, my son is only eight years old; he will never know.” Would you feel comfortable going on that trip? Of course not, and why? Because the money was given so that he might provide better care for his child. It was intended to help him provide for college. The crux of the matter is that he was to use the money to serve someone else, not himself.
Sometimes we might be tempted to say, “When I was serving at another church, I just wasn’t appreciated, or I didn’t get the credit I deserved.” If you have had that thought, revisit Peter’s words again. The gifts were not given in order that we could serve ourselves or feel better about ourselves. They were given that we might serve others.