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Serve "from the strength that God furnishes"

June 20, 2023

Daily Scripture

1 Peter 4:8-11

8 Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. 9 Open your homes to each other without complaining. 10 And serve each other according to the gift each person has received, as good managers of God’s diverse gifts. 11 Whoever speaks should do so as those who speak God’s word. Whoever serves should do so from the strength that God furnishes. Do this so that in everything God may be honored through Jesus Christ. To him be honor and power forever and always. Amen.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Too often, we have a “one size fits all” idea of what it means to serve. In fact, there are as many unique forms of service as there are people. The apostle Peter’s letter called Christians to “use whatever gift you have received to serve others.” As Paul wrote elsewhere, “If the whole body were an eye, what would happen to the hearing?” (1 Corinthians 12:17). The call is to be yourself, as long as “being yourself” includes being a servant to God and others.

  • In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul said that using our gifts without love renders them useless to God (and, most often, to anyone else). In today’s reading, Peter, in a shorter, less-poetic form, made the same point. What makes love so vital as the environment in which we use our widely varying gifts? Who do you know who is finding joy by using his or her gifts in love?
  • What Peter said in verse 8 seemed to draw from the Hebrew wisdom of Proverbs 10:12. Of that passage, scholar John Goldingay wrote, “Honesty (v. 11) and self-giving build up the community (v. 12).” * We still hear heated debates about whether pure self-interest or community mindedness make for better human lives. Both Old and New Testament Scriptures came down firmly on the side of building community. How easy or hard do you find it to accept that wisdom?

Lord Jesus, help me not just to act loving on the outside, but to show “sincere love” to all your human children. Keep making my heart more like yours. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Lauren Batzli

Lauren Batzli

Lauren Batzli is a summer intern at Resurrection working in Connections & Care. She was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona and is a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University where she studied theology and biblical studies. She is excited to start seminary in St Louis in the fall. She loves the outdoors, reading, and spending time with her family.

As I was reading and reflecting on this passage, I was struck with just how relevant and timely it is to me. Last week all of the Resurrection summer interns took a spiritual gifts test and in our weekly group meeting we talked about how God has given each of us gifts that we are supposed to use to bless the church. As we all took turns sharing what spiritual gifts we had, it became apparent that God has graciously given a wide variety of gifts to his children. It was certainly exciting to think about all the possibilities and ways that we could use our gifts, but one thing is important to remember: our gifts are meant to bless others and through this, ultimately to glorify God.

Peter talks about this very thing in the passage today. He mentions three commands–to love earnestly, to be joyfully hospitable, and to use the spiritual gifts we have received from God to serve one another. After that, he answers the question I often ask when I read commands like these, which is “Why? Why do we love and host and serve?” Peter says it is in order to bring God glory. I often have to remind myself of this goal, the goal of bringing God glory. As a human being it is very natural to want to receive recognition and praise for the things we do and the talents we have. I know I often want people, especially those I admire or respect, to recognize when I show love or serve. That’s why passages like 1 Peter 4:8-11 serve as such a good reminder to me that the gifts we have and the fruit of the Spirit that we show don’t come from us, rather, they come from God. 1 John 4:19 reminds us that the love we have (and show) is from him (“We love because he first loved us”). Because all of this good actually originates in God, God gets the glory for the good that he works in and through us to love and serve one another. When we realize that God is responsible for the good, we stop wanting the credit. Accepting and celebrating this allows us to serve more freely because the focus becomes about others instead of ourselves and how we are perceived.

My prayer for all of us is that every day we can humbly and joyfully serve others by using our gifts while saying along with Peter: “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.”

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* John Goldingay, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs for Everyone. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p. 46.