As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.1 Peter 4:10
Good parents give gifts to all their children, excluding none. Thoughtful parents select appropriate gifts for each child to match their stage, aptitudes, and character. If we care for our children and love them without favoritism, we will give to each one what is fitting at any given time to meet his or her unique needs and desires. And often the best gifts are ones that can, while owned by one child, then be enjoyed by the whole family.
Our heavenly Father operates in the same way. He gives gifts to all His people—generously, lavishly, and purposefully.
Three verses in 1 Corinthians 12 confirm to us God’s generosity to all His children:
• “It is the same God who empowers” all kinds of gifts and service and activities “in everyone” (v 6, emphasis added).
• “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (v 7, emphasis added).
• Every spiritual gift is “empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each individually as he wills” (v 11, emphasis added).
Like a good parent, God gives gifts to all His children, all for the good of Christ’s body, the church family.
Sometimes, though, untaught by our Bibles and unguided by the Spirit, we take the view that the people who really count are those who possess certain gifts—whatever those gifts might be, in whatever given context. This elitism leads to defeatism: those without the “privileged” gifts feel they have no meaningful contribution to make.
We must therefore be very clear on the basics of spiritual gifts. Who gives them? God. Who gets them? All believers. Spiritual gifts are not reserved for a chosen few; they are the privilege of the whole Christian family. Our gifts differ, but we all have them, and every gift is good, necessary, and integral to the life of the body. Each one is given for the “common good,” as 1 Corinthians 12:7 puts it.
Instead of wondering about what we haven’t received, being jealous of what someone else has been given, or wishing we could exchange our gift, God wants us to enjoy and make use of what He has kindly provided to us. “As each has received a gift,” says Peter, “use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” As God’s child, you are a recipient of God’s grace. He has given you abilities and opportunities. He calls you, in the strength He supplies, to steward that grace for the fame of Christ’s name and the good of His family. So consider: What are the gifts He has given you? Have you thanked Him? And how might you use those gifts to serve your church? Remember, God-given gifts are most enjoyed when they are used for the good of the family.