4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.NIV Each person has received one or more spiritual gifts from God. A spiritual gift is a talent or ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and able to be used in the ministry of the church. Spiritual “gifts” help God’s people to serve and love one another (4:8) and continue the work of spreading the gospel. Paul wrote, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us” (Romans 12:4-6 niv). Different types of gifts given to God’s people are listed in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-31; and Ephesians 4:11-12—these lists are different and are by no means exhaustive. When believers humbly recognize their partnership in the body of Christ, their gifts can be used effectively. Only then can they also appreciate one another’s gifts. God gives his people various spiritual gifts so they can build up his church. The gifts were not meant for self-aggrandizement; instead, each believer has received at least one gift from God in order to serve others.
When believers use their gifts in humble service to others, they are actually faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. The gifts God gives believers are as varied and many-faceted as are the believers themselves. As God’s grace varies in its dealings with people, so God’s gifts (given because of his grace) are varied in their administration of his grace as Christ’s body on earth. To be “faithful” means not to hide the gifts, but to use them as they were meant to be used—serving and building up the body of Christ.
|*LIFE APPLICATION – A GIFT FOR YOU|
|Our abilities should be faithfully used in serving others; none are for our own exclusive enjoyment. Some people, well aware of their abilities, believe that they have the right to use their abilities as they please. Others feel that they have no special talents at all. Peter addresses both groups in these verses. Because each believer has been given a way to minister, we should find our way to serve and do it. Most importantly, when we see a need in the church, we should meet it the best way we can. If it’s possible to serve by way of our gift, that’s great. But if there remains a need, even though it may not be perfectly matched to our gift we still should help. We should never withhold our ability to minister.|
4:11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.NRSV Scholars differ on Peter’s focus here. Some say whoever speaks refers not just to those speaking publicly (preachers and teachers), but to the speech of all believers in the worship setting, including speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues was usually regarded more as prayer than proclamation (see 1 Corinthians 14:2, 28). The words speaking the very words of God set this apart from everyday conversation. All believers, when conversing with one another in a worship context, ought to speak God’s words, meaning that everything they say should be spoken seriously and after careful study and prayer so that they are speaking God’s truth. (Others say that Peter was not speaking to everyone, but only to the preachers and teachers. They explain that as the apostles divided the ministry of the church into two categories—preaching and serving, see Acts 6—so Peter was dividing the church’s body into two groups—teachers and servers—although admittedly, these overlap. However, the text does not support this interpretation.) Peter encouraged the believers to use their gifts (4:10). Men and women with gifts that required speaking must be responsible with what they said.
Likewise, those gifted with abilities that centered on serving also have a responsibility—to serve not in their own strength but with the strength that God supplies. If believers serve in their own strength alone or in order to look good to others, they will begin to find serving a wearisome task. But to serve with God’s strength is to be able to go above and beyond, and to do so for one purpose: so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. When believers use their gifts as God directs (to help others and build up the church), others will see Jesus Christ in them and will glorify him for the help they have received. Peter may have been thinking of Jesus’ words, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
|LIFE APPLICATION – WHOSE POWER?|
|We need God’s strength to do God’s work. A vital church requires lots of serving—and that means work. Typically, much of the work falls on a few shoulders. Those people need the strength that God supplies. How do active people get help from God’s supply cabinet? Often they get it through your efforts. They need your prayers, cooperation, and an occasional sabbatical. Offer to pitch in, to provide relief, and to shoulder a load.|
|All who serve must trust in God for the joy to do the work cheerfully. When your batteries run low, take a break for prayer and meditation. Work is lighter when it’s shared, and easy when you feel God’s joy in it.|
To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.NRSV This is a brief doxology. To him refers directly back to Jesus Christ. God is glorified in all things, but to Christ also belongs the glory and the power forever and ever, for God raised Christ from the dead and gave him lordship over all creation. It is through Jesus Christ alone that believers have a relationship with God that allows them to receive gifts from a gracious God and use those gifts to serve others.
Source: Life Application Bible Commentary