1 Peter 4:10-11
As Stewards of God’s Grace
Stewards were important people in the ancient world. They were often slaves but that does not diminish their value in the wealthy man’s household. They were generally responsible for managing the household’s business and property and the necessities for family members, slaves, and any hired hands (NICNT, 160). The most notable such figure in the Bible would be Joseph who first managed Potiphar’s household, then a prison, and then Pharaoh’s kingdom. We have the same thing today. Wealthy people pay others to worry about their money and households for them. But in truth, we are all stewards of some task or responsibility we have been given. If a schoolteacher, you must manage your classroom and the solemn task of forming minds; if a physician, you must manage your craft to aid the sick; if a parent, your children; if a laborer, your task. The list is almost endless. All of the aforementioned would fall under what is often called God’s “common grace” whereby He gifts and tasks individuals for the operation of society and the world at large. It began in the Garden when God commanded Adam to care for and keep it (Genesis 2:15).
It is the same in the Kingdom. But in the local church God tasks through the gifts he provides his people through the Holy Spirit. Peter does not go into the specifics that Paul does in several places in his letters. Peter simply divides the gifts of the Spirit into two general categories: those who speak and those who serve. Those who speak could cover everything from the divinely inspired words of the apostles to the general exhortations of church members, while serving might include anything from the deacon seeing to the care of widows to the one washing the cups after communion—and everything in between. There is no partiality with God as all are tasked and all are responsible. But there is one thing that is needful and that overrides all other concerns: that everything must be done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ. If one speaks, he must treat his responsibility as if he were an oracle of God (that’s enough to make you faint!) and if one serves, he must do so “by the strength God supplies” (no excuses!).
The Apostle now exults in doxological praise of His Father: “To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” There is no greater prayer than that which desires the glory of God in all things, to see God’s glory manifest in all creation. And His glory is manifest in all creation, and one day every eye shall see it. So let us use the gifts God has bestowed upon us in anticipation of that Day.