Your Gifts for Others
God has given gifts to every believer. We are to use our gifts to meet people at the point of their need.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I trust so and I’m awfully glad to be back with you.
I suppose you English teachers will correct me on the word of awfully, because awful means full of awe, but as a matter of real accuracy, that’s how I feel, oftentimes, as I approach these microphones and speak with thousands of you who wait for some word from God. Every time I prepare a broadcast, you can be sure I’m praying that God will take some word that is said and tailor-make it just to your personal need. And from the postcards and letters that we receive, it does seem as though God is doing that day-by-day. People write in and say, “You answered a question I’ve been struggling with and it’s just what I needed.” Well, thank God for that, that’s of the Lord, “this is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes.” So yes, I’m awfully glad [chuckle] to be with you. Bless your heart. The miles drop away and we’re together around the Word of God. What a precious time that is.
Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m looking with you now at 1 Peter 4, and we’re gonna review verse 10, “As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Now, the Word of God says that he gives sovereignly gifts to his people in differing ways. Gave gifts unto men, Ephesians 4:8, “And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some teaching pastors for the perfecting… ” Perfecting, some of you insist on my saying, “of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” gifts that God has given to the believer.
Paul mentioned them also in his letter to the people at Rome. Do you remember that passage? I’m turning the pages of my big Bible. He says, “We being many are one body in Christ. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith or ministry, let us wait on our ministering or he that teacheth on teaching or he that exhorteth on exhortation, he that giveth let him do it with simplicity. He that ruleth do it with diligence, he that showeth mercy with cheerfulness and let love be without hypocrisy.”
Gifts. God endows each believer with some special gift for some special function in the body of Christ. So he says, “As every man hath received the gift. ” Small thought here, have you given any serious thought to exactly what your gifts may be? So we’re all different. Any of you who have raised children you know that each child is different and you have to approach them from a different point of view because their personalities are different, and their talents and abilities are different. One child in a family will be a take-charge individual; another coming along a few years later may be quite passive and sometimes almost seem sullen, and they respond in different ways to discipline and correction. There is a difference in the abilities and in the personality cast that God has given to each individual.
So he says, “As every man hath received the gift.” Well, now, have you ever made a list of what you understand to be your God-given gifts? It might be a good idea. And if you have a close friend or a relative with whom you share confidences, sometime you might sit down and say, “John or Mary, talk with me for a minute about what gifts you think God has given me, I wanna make an inventory of my own life and see what I’m doing with it for the glory of God.” I think you’d be richly rewarded with that sort of a practice. You try it on for size. So he said you’ve received the gift. Now, we stopped and spoke at some length, the last time we looked at this verse, this is all review, and I wanted to nail it down in our thinking, if you don’t mind. But the last time we talked about this verse I emphasized the fact that God’s gifts to you are not given to you to have, but to use for him, they’re only loaned to you, he could take everything away from you in just a moment.
You’ve all had the experience of either seeing or hearing about or visiting someone who in a moment of a traffic accident, for example, was so badly injured that complete paralysis set in and he wasn’t able then to move or to speak. Had to be taken care of completely for every body need, feeding and washing and caring for this patient. In just a split second, everything gone. Oh, you say, “What a tragedy.” Yes, of course. I know of one case where a young man had this type of accident and was completely paralyzed, couldn’t speak, but all he could do, and he did it beautifully, was to smile and in the years that passed before he slipped away into the glory, that beautiful smile lit up not only his face, but the whole room as people came in. Well, anyway, what I’m emphasizing is the gifts God has given you are not yours in a proprietary sense, to have and to enjoy for yourself. Or certainly not to brag about, but Paul says, “What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” You and I are endowed with certain gifts by the grace of God. We get down to that in a minute.
Now he says, “Even so minister the same one to another.” Here we come to our good old word that is related to our English word deacon. To minister is to meet somebody’s need at the point of his need. See, minister the same, that word is “Diakoneo” and this is a participle, which means keep on doing it, [chuckle] keep on meeting people’s needs at the point of their need. You see, a drowning man he doesn’t need a drink of water, he needs somebody to pull him out. You see, a person who is without employment, he doesn’t need a lecture on, “Why did you lose your last job?” He needs somebody to get him a new one. You see, a person who has fallen into sin and let’s say it’s a young girl who is now pregnant, she doesn’t need a lecture, she needs somebody to love her and take care of her and show her that there is a better way than abortion, that she can have that baby, and either raise the child herself or give it out for adoption, but in any case, she can yield her body to the Lord Jesus Christ to meet the need. You understand what I’m saying. To minister your gift is to use your gift in meeting somebody’s need right at the point of their necessity.
And of course, the scripture illustration, having to do with this word that we’re using comes from Acts 6, where the need there was to regularize and to equalize the distribution of food to people, and some people were getting left. By the time those that distributed the food in a daily round of meals, by the time those who distributed got around to some folk, they said, “We’re sorry, there isn’t anything left, all that’s left is crumbs and scraps,” or whatever. And so there was a good deal of discontent and grumbling as a result. What did they do? They said, “Look out among you seven men full of faith, and full of the Holy Ghost and of good report and let them take care of this.” And they ministered to them, we called them deacons. The first deacons. Alright, what the people needed then was something to eat, they didn’t need a sermon.
Although Philip began preaching, and was known as an evangelist and Stephen began preaching and became the first martyr. But at the point where they were chosen to do this work, the thing they had to do was to see to it that everybody got fed. Not a very religious activity, but one that certainly glorified God as people were helped. They were ministering. Now, what is your gift? Can you sing? Can you preach? Can you type? Can you manage? Can you add a column of figures so that you get the same answer twice in a row? Can you encourage people? Can you help in different kinds of work? What can you do? Well, think about it and then use it, use it to meet other people’s need at the point of their necessity.
I was speaking about this down at Boca Raton years ago and a lady came up to me after the service, she said, “I raised my hand when you gave that appeal tonight.” And she said, “I want you to know that I made my mind up about something.” She said, “I can’t teach a Sunday School class, I’m not a very good teacher. I certainly can’t preach, I’m kind of a shy individual too. I don’t really go out and knock people down and talk to them about the Lord.” But she said, “I am a pretty good cook.” And I knew that because I’d had fried chicken and blueberry pie in her house and it was delicious. So she said, “I am a pretty good cook,” and she said, “I’m going to invite unsaved friends and neighbors into my home for a nice dinner and then I’m going to try to win them to Christ.” Alright, now that’s what I call using your gift. Minister, minister the gift. Don’t just have it or just show it off, but to use it to meet somebody else’s needs.
And he said, “Do you know when you do that, what you are is a good steward.” A steward is a person who uses another person’s money, invests it for a profit. You’re to invest that ability for the glory of God and for eternal profit. Good stewards of the manifold grace of God. It’s God’s grace that allows you and me to have anything to do with eternal matters, it would be far cheaper for God to take us straight to heaven the minute we’re saved, but in his infinite grace, he allows us with all of our human faults and frailties to have a share in bringing other people to the Lord Jesus Christ, the grace of God. So be a minister of your gift today and may God bless you richly.
Dear Father, today, help us to use the gifts you’ve given us for your glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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