What does it mean that “each is gifted and use it serve one another”? Chen Jingting, a final-year student at ACTS College, explains.
Believers who are grateful for God’s saving grace should be eager to serve their Lord and His people. Yet many ministries are facing the problem of “so much to do, so few willing to do it.” There is a deluge of needs but a dearth of servants to meet those needs.
Common reasons given by believers who do not serve include:
“I’m not good enough.”
“Ministry is only for the super-spiritual or mature.”
The truth, as we will see from 1 Peter 4:10, is that every believer is gifted by God for ministry.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” – 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
From this passage, we find three principles that should shape our approach to ministry.
We have nothing to prove (“As each has received a gift…”)
Influenced by the world’s performance-driven culture, we may feel the pressure to be competent enough to minister. If we do not measure up, we decline to serve.
On the contrary, Scripture teaches us that we have nothing to prove. We should stop worrying about whether we are skilled or knowledgeable enough because God can enable us through spiritual gifts to do His work.
The Apostle Peter makes it clear that each believer, not just an elite few, has received a gift from God. The word “gift” is translated from charisma, the Greek word for “grace”. Grace is favor given to those who do not deserve it.
The truth is none of us will ever be good enough to earn God’s favor. Yet God graciously equips each of us with His gifts. Since God is not bothered by our insufficient eloquence or skills, neither should we. We should not let our lack of competence stop us from serving, knowing that God can enable us to do more than what our flesh is able to.
We have something to do (“…use it to serve one another…”)
Being gifted by God does not mean that we live passively. We have nothing to prove but we still have something to do.
The purpose of God gifting every believer is for mutual service. The word “serve” comes from the idea of waiting on tables. It carries the meaning of doing humble tasks in order to help others. Hence, we exercise gifts not to fulfill our potential or enhance our reputation but to serve the family of God by ministering to one another’s needs.
The purpose of God gifting every believer is for mutual service.
Every believer (not just the pastors and leaders) is called to get involved in ministry (Ephesians. 4:12). Thus, we should seek God for how we can do our part to build up the body of Christ.
We should also grow in our skills, knowledge, and character so that we can be more effective in our service. Some may ask, “Why bother to grow when God can enable us?” They are mistaken in thinking that God will bypass our faculties or take over our bodies when we exercise a gift.
Rather, God works through us – our background, intellect, experiences, talents, language, and moral conduct – as we operate in His gifts. God’s role is to empower, our role is to offer our lives in service.
We have nothing to hide (“…as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”)
Since each of us is gifted by God to serve, we are accountable to God for how we use His gifts. We should serve with diligence and integrity so that we have nothing to hide when we face God at the final judgment.
This is easier said than done because ministry can be trying and discouraging. We may see more setbacks than successes. We may be tempted to take shortcuts or give up.
Let us press on in doing God’s work God’s way because at the end of our race, we want to receive the highest accolade from Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
To conclude, in ministry, we have nothing to prove because we are relying on God’s empowerment through spiritual gifts. We have something to do, which is to use God’s gifts to build up His Church. Finally, we want to stand before God as faithful stewards of His gifts with nothing to hide.
About Chen Jingting
Currently a student at ACTS College, Chen Jingting is in her final year in the Master of Divinity programme. She holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies from NTU. Jingting is serving in her church staff team as a sermon researcher. Before joining her church full-time, Jingting worked as an editor and a writer. She is currently volunteering in her church’s teaching and mentoring ministries. Previously, she served in a variety of ministries such as foreign worker outreach, communications and worship. Jingting is married to Stephen and has a one-year-old son, Junyi.