I love the inspirational, open-ended beauty of 1 Peter 4:10. “Each one of you,” Peter writes, “should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Last month, I got an insider’s look at a woman who is living out this verse in a big way. Anne Neilson (anneneilsonhome.com) is a talented and visionary artist whose paintings have garnered attention from some of the art world’s most discerning collectors. What makes her work particularly distinctive, though, is not just how good it is. Rather, it’s the fact that Anne paints with a purpose, using her platform to help eradicate homelessness, fund cancer research, and help other artists find their place.
In all of these efforts and more, Anne shines the spotlight on Jesus.
I’m no artist, but as I looked around Anne’s studio, I was reminded that all of us have unique talents and abilities. So do our children. And God knows exactly how each one of us is wired; butcher, baker, or candlestick-maker, we are all his handiwork, and he has good stuff for us to do.
Take a few moments today to thank God for the way he created you (or your kids), and then ask him to help you use what you’ve been given to serve other people and point them toward his amazing, life-changing grace.
Thank you for the way you made _____. Show _____ how to use the gifts he/she has received to serve others, faithfully administering your grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
I have a friend whose grandmother, upon being told that one of her grandsons was going to take his honeymoon before he got married, summed up her analysis with this: “People vary.”
Over the years, I’ve used that phrase to account for any number of differences in taste and style. I was reminded of the maxim this week when a pal who raises chickens graced me with a sample of her harvest. Chicken-cooping does not appeal to me, but…people vary. And for that, I am grateful.
The Apostle Paul certainly knew that we’d vary – and he encouraged us to recognize and affirm those differences. “The body,” he wrote, “is not made up of one part but of many.” Paul said that the foot shouldn’t feel inferior or excluded because it is not a hand, and that the ear shouldn’t be bummed because it isn’t an eye. “God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)
As you consider the way God has made you today, don’t be jealous of someone else’s attributes or abilities. Instead, stop and think about the unique gifts he has given to you, and how you might use those things to strengthen, equip, and encourage other people. Not everyone has what it takes to raise chickens, but for those who do, it’s gotta make God happy when they share their eggs.
Which brings us to our Friday prayer (which you can pray for yourself, or for someone you love):
Help me to use whatever gift I have received to serve others. Let me be a faithful steward of your grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)
‘Tis the season!
As you think about gift-giving this year, consider the spiritual gifts that God has given to you and your family. Have you or your spouse been blessed with leadership skills, a heart for service, or material wealth? Do your children seem particularly merciful, organized, or discerning? Do you know someone who is an excellent teacher, or who is especially good at explaining the gospel and pointing people toward Christ?
The Bible offers a whole catalog of these attributes, which are sometimes called “supernatural graces.” They’re the gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit, and they’re all designed to bring glory to God and strengthen his people.
Check out Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12, or Ephesians 4:11-13 to learn more, and as you wrap presents for your family and friends this Christmas, ask God to help them use their Spirit-given gifts to share his goodness and grace with a world in need.
May ____ use whatever gift he/she has received to serve others, as faithful stewards of your grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)