Peter has just informed his readers that the return of Christ is coming, and that they need to be prepared, even though they may be facing persecution and suffering. I find it interesting that the very next thing he says is that they should be using their gifts to edify one another. Take a look for yourself in 1 Peter 4:10-11.
Although brief, and much shorter than the other New Testament passages on spiritual gifts, 1 Peter does touch on this topic, and gives some enlightening information about how we should be using our gifts. In the original Greek, this is still a part of the previous verse, and is one sentence. In the first part, Peter states that hospitality is one way of using the gifts God has given us. And Peter’s words here show that these gifts are given so that we may serve others.
Peter is very clear, as is Paul (Romans 12:6-8), that these gifts are give to us out of God’s grace. We are to be using them for God’s glory, to serve one another. Peter’s words here give the idea of stewardship, that our gifts are to be used, or managed, on behalf of the gift giver, who is God. We are to be using these gifts for his glory.
Peter seems to generalize the gifts here, while Paul lists them more specifically. Peter groups them into two categories, speaking and serving. When he states, “If anyone speaks,” he is referring to those with the gifts of preaching, teaching, and prophesying. Those who do so should be careful in their usage, because they are speaking on behalf of God, and should speak wisely.
When Peter says, “If anyone serves,” he is referring to more of the action oriented gifts. Just as we should be wise in our words, we must also take seriously how we act, because we are doing so as God’s hands and feet on this earth. God should be the one receiving the glory, because it is only through his strength that we have the ability to serve in the first place.
And the point of all this, both speech and action, is for the glory of God. Throughout 1 Peter, we have seen the theme of praise. Peter shows that all we do should be out of praise to God, and so that others may also praise him. In all we do, we should do it for the glory of God alone.
Peter closes this section with a brief doxology, which is itself an expression of praise. Peter’s words about praising God cause him to spontaneously do so in his letter to the early believers, and we can see how his example is still needed today.
My encouragement to you today is to let that example of praise shine forth in your life, in speech and in action.
Question: Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? If so, in what capacity do you use them to serve others and glorify God? You can leave a comment by clicking here.