As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:10, ESV).
Scripture teaches that all of us have gifts (abilities) given to us by the Spirit of God.
While some of these talents are given at birth and apparent even while a non-believer, all of us receive spiritual gifts along with empowerment for these gifts at our new birth.
As the Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:10, “Whatever gift that you have, be a good steward of God’s grace by serving others with this gift” (OGV).
There is an actual gift of service that the Apostle Paul lists in Romans 12 …
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving (vv. 6-7).
All of us should serve according to our gifts.
I preach, teach, and write.
I’m never asked to cook, fix a car, sing in a choir, remodel a kitchen, or explain quantum gravity. I would like to surf a 30-foot wave in Hawaii or climb Alpe d’Huez in France on my bike. But Paul warns that we should serve according to “the grace given to us!”
Let’s consider the specific gift of service.
Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, writes about those who employ the grace of service …
More than any other single way, the grace of humility is worked into our lives through the discipline of service. Humility, as we all know, is one of those virtues that is never gained by seeking it.
I’m often amazed at those who serve, as they have the determination to accomplish a task without seeking self-glory.
This past Thanksgiving, my son-in-law heard about people in our community who didn’t have the means to cook their own Thanksgiving meals. He decided to cook a turkey dinner for them. He organized a team (did a lot of the work himself) to cook twenty-eight turkeys, peel, boil, and mash 150 pounds of potatoes, adding green beans, corn casserole, pumpkin pie, and cranberry garnishing for about 400 people at the local soup kitchen.
Our family (and others) helped him serve. From our family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, children, and grandchildren all worked together. Yes, I was there too. I wasn’t asked to cut or serve the turkey. I wasn’t asked to scoop mashed potatoes with gravy or even serve green beans or corn casserole.
I was entrusted with the essential task of placing the cranberry garnish on a plate just before it was served.
A very important task, I kept telling myself.
Many heroes of the faith have the gift of service. I’m very glad, as a former pastor, that the most common of all spiritual gifts is the gift of service. Consider a church building without servants or a children’s ministry or any ministry without the gift of service.
All of us can and must find ways to serve. We all need the humility and joy that comes from giving.
For those with the gift of serving, the Bible has this encouragement …
For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do (Hebrews 6:10).
I am grateful for these unsung heroes.