When you receive a gift from someone, whether it be for a birthday, an anniversary, or for no special reason other than the desire of the giver to present you with a gift, that gift is generally meant for you and you alone. We’re not given gifts of jewelry, clothes, books, or flowers for the purpose of giving them to someone else. But what about a gift like a coffee maker, a food processor, or a set of dishes? Those are gifts that we are given for the purpose of using them to serve others by providing them with food or nourishment for the body.
God gives each one of us certain gifts that, just like that coffee maker, are given to us for the purpose of using them to serve others. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” The gifts that God gives us are not used to feed the body, like the food processor or the dishes. God’s gifts are used to feed the spirit, to serve others by helping us to encourage them, comfort them, disciple them, and build them up in their faith.
We may have the gift of speaking, a gift that we should use by allowing God to speak through us. We may have a gift for helping others, a gift that we should use by tapping into the strength and energy God gives us to do so. When we use these gifts to serve others, we are building up the body of Christ, building up God’s children. Whatever gifts God has given us, the ultimate goal in using those gifts is to bring glory to God through His Son, Jesus. (1 Peter 4:11).
When we think about the gifts that we give to others, or that others give to us, there are a great variety of gifts to choose from, as well as a great variety of places or sources from which these gifts can be obtained. The gifts that God gives us are spiritual gifts of which there are, as Peter points out in 1 Peter 4:10, a great variety. In 1 Corinthians 12:4, Paul says that there are different kinds of spiritual gifts. But, unlike the earthly gifts that we give and receive, the gifts that God gives all come from the same source. They come from the Holy Spirit. And, as Peter pointed out, they are given to us to serve one another and glorify God. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11:
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.”
God gives each one of us spiritual gifts according to our own abilities. Our responsibility is to be faithful in using those gifts as we serve one another and give glory to God. When we use our gifts faithfully in this way, we will one day receive the wonderful gift of hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.