Based on the gift they have received, everyone should use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, his speech should be like the oracles of God; if anyone serves, his service should be from the strength God provides, so that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:10-11 HCSB
My cat is convinced everything is about her. She’s an outside kitty, so she has a lot to deal with. Every car has a driver who is contemplating how to swerve up in the yard and flatten the tabby. Every twig snap is the signal that something is stalking the cat. Every time I walk out the door, she demands I stop and pet her, because why else would I be outside? From her feline perspective, the entire world revolves around her. The cat needs a reality check. She’s a mere part of the world, not the center of it.
Sadly, I am much like her. I tend to filter every event by how it relates to me, how it benefits or encourages me, how it hinders or frustrates me. I’ve even done that with this week’s topic. “How is ‘being useful’ helpful to me? Well, it makes me feel satisfied, like I’m a part, a helper. I enjoy having a purpose.”
But it isn’t all about me. And that’s why I love these verses in 1 Peter. The apostle tells us that God has given us each gifts to make us useful, but our own intrinsic satisfaction with a job well done isn’t the purpose. To be sure, when God uses me, it satisfies me, but that’s not the goal. The goal is that God would be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him (not me – or my cat, for that matter) belong the glory and the power forever and ever. God truly is the center of the universe.
God has gifted each of us. And Peter tells us God expects us to use those gifts. If we attempt to do the same ministries on our own strength, we will fail, burn out, and flub up. The tasks God gives us are only doable in His strength, using the gifts He gave us. No wonder the gifts are called the “varied grace of God.” The definition of grace is unmerited favor, something we get without deserving or earning it.
God gifts some as speakers, some as servants, some as encouragers, some as pastors and some as administrators. We do nothing to earn those gifts. We aren’t even strong enough on our own to use them. But through God’s strength, we are useful.
Why? To glorify the Gift Giver.
It’s all about Him.