7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
Every time our church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, we hear these beautiful words: “These are the gifts of God for you, the people of God.” The gifts are the bread and the cup; tangible symbols pointing to the reality of God’s saving love for us in Jesus Christ crucified. To those who know the depth of their sin and who feel the weaknesses of their faith, these gifts of God provide relief and stability. These gifts also motivate various responses from us, such as worship, evangelism, and obedience. But there is another response that we too often miss: service.
In a way, all of us like service; we like to be served, and we even like the idea of serving others. But few if any of us are naturally inclined to the actual task of serving others. So we may have felt some internal resistance when heard these words on Sunday, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another (1 Peter 4:10).”
Sin and the culture of self we sojourn within may threaten to draw us inward, but the gospel of Jesus Christ always drives us outward. Embracing God’s gift to us in Jesus is the key to extending our gifts to serve one another. When we understand and believe Jesus came not to be served by us but to serve us by breaking his body and shedding his blood on the cross, the Holy Spirit initiates a radical reorientation in us. Our old resistance to serving one another shrinks, and our new desire to serve one another grows. That reorientation is not instant or perfect, but it is steady reality in the Christian. As Donald Whitney testifies, “One of the clearest indications that a person has truly believed the gospel of Jesus is that their selfish desire to be served is overcome by a Christlike desire to serve.”
While our spiritual gifts and avenues of service to one another may vary, our central motivation to extend them in service to others is always the same: Jesus Christ – the gift of God for us, the people of God. May we feed on Him our hearts by faith this week, and may we grow to be a people who serve one another in love and gratitude.