Truth 1: Spiritual Gifts are possessed by each believer; therefore, avoid comparisons.

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4:10, NKJV)

Don’t underestimate the phrase “each one.”  It means precisely that every one of us has received a special gift!  It means that none of us has the right to say, “I can’t do anything.” God has given each of us a gift to be used for His glory. Paul further states that argument in his discussion with the Corinthians:

For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.  And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. (I Corinthians 12:12-19, NKJV)

The logical conclusion of this principle is that comparisons are irrelevant in the body of Christ because each one has been given his specific gift or gifts. Comparing your gift or gifts to someone else’s is like comparing apples and oranges. God gave you your gifts to be used by you in ministry. He didn’t give them so that you and I might consider how someone else is more important or less important than we are in the Kingdom. Furthermore, to say that one can’t be used or that one doesn’t have the ability is to downplay the fact that each of us has a spiritual gift that the body of Christ is waiting for us to discover and use!

Truth 2: Spiritual Gifts are for the profit of others, not self; therefore, we need to make sure that we are serving.

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (I Peter 4:10, NKJV) [emphasis added]  

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.

Truth 3: Spiritual Gifts are a part of Christian stewardship; therefore, use your gifts today!

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (I Peter 4:10) [emphasis added]  

John MacArthur defines a steward well when he writes, “A steward is responsible for another’s resources. A Christian does not own his gifts, but God has given him gifts to manage for the church and His glory” (The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1947).

The word steward is not a common word in our world. Other Biblical passages will help us more effectively understand its use.

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.  (I Corinthians 4:1-4, NKJV)

Whenever God uses the word steward, it means that we are held accountable for the service. You see it in the phrase, “it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” Our faithful service is evaluated by God. The apostle Paul was far more concerned about God’s evaluation of him than what others would think (1 Corinthians 4:1-4). That is a humbling thought for me as a pastor, but it should also be a humbling thought for you. God has entrusted you with certain spiritual gifts. Are you using them?

To understand more clearly your responsibility, think with me about a financial investment, like an  IRA. Let’s say handling finances is not your cup of tea. You acknowledge the fact that financial markets are confusing to understand let alone to forecast. So you subcontract out this portion of your life. You have a consultant, whom you pay, and whom you trust to invest the money for you. Then one day you discover that your friend at work is earning a lot more money in his IRA with less investment than you are in yours. You quiz your investor about it, and he says, “You know I’ve just been so busy for the last ten years I haven’t had much time to think about it. So I’ve put your money on hold. In fact, I put your money in a locked box in our coat closet—if you ever need it, I’ll be glad to get it for you. I’ll probably get around to investing it for you in a few years. I just have so much stuff going on right now. I mean the girls have soccer, and my son has wrestling. My youngest daughter has dance class. And by the time we factor in vacations, I just haven’t gotten around to investing your money. But I mean to, and I will get to it.  Just not now.”

You and I would probably come unglued! And for good reason. The man is a steward of what we have entrusted to him. And he has not been a good one! It’s fair to say that he has been irresponsible. Now remember, God uses the word steward to describe our special relationship with Him. A relationship for which we will give an account. Have we been good stewards with the spiritual gifts He has extended to us? Are we using them for His glory?

Truth 4: Spiritual Gifts are performed in God’s power; therefore, don’t depend on your own strength.

Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (I Peter  4:11, NAS)

This means that we ought to understand that even when we exercise the gift, we are doing it in God’s power. The prophet Jeremiah understood this. That is why he could minister boldly even when the response of his listeners was limited at best.  Look at his words:

Ah, Lord God! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee, who showest lovingkindness to thousands, but repayest the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The Lord of Hosts is His name; great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; who hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and Thou hast made a name for Thyself, as at this day. (Jeremiah 32:17-20, NAS)

Truth 5: Spiritual Gifts are to bring praise to God through their use; therefore, worship God with your gift.

Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to Whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (I Peter  4:11, NAS)

We often think of praise and worship taking place when we are singing or when we are in church. But according to this passage, we give praise to God when we are exercising our spiritual gifts.

Imagine that you have the gift of helps. You have prepared a meal for someone in need and are ready to deliver it. Your spouse says, “Honey, where are you going?” Would you say, “I’m going to worship the Lord?”

Or if your gift is administration and you are organizing a church function, do you view that as worship? God does! Are you worshipping God through the use of your spiritual gifts?