Life Can Makes Us Selfish
1 Peter was written to people who were going through serious hardships. (see 1 Peter 1:6 and 4:12). Yet God still called them to serve. All of us can find reasons to justify not serving. Let’s consider some reasons to serve – even when life isn’t easy.
God Calls You Beyond Yourself to Love Others
Christians should love each other even when we’re facing difficult challenges. In fact, we need it even more when things are tough. 1 Peter 4 talks about three distinct expressions of love.
1 Peter 4:8-9 Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
Deep, sincere love takes shape when we forgive the way others have sinned against us. And when we share what we have with people who need help. But the expression of love that gets most attention in this passage is serving. Let’s see why in verses 10-11.
God Does Something Amazing When You Serve
Every Christ-follower has received some kind of gifting from God that enables us to serve others. Each gift is an expression of God’s grace. This takes shape in different forms, because there are many different gifts. But whenever you serve, God’s grace gets distributed to others through you.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
The idea of a “steward” is an administrator or dispenser of something. This is why each person’s gift is so valuable – because when you serve, God’s grace is allocated to others. When you use your abilities to serve, God’s goodness, favor, and blessing gets spread around – through you.
The best example of this is Jesus himself. In his glory, all creation owed him it’s service. But he came to serve us.
Mark 10:43-45 Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
God poured out his grace in an ultimate way through Jesus’ serving on the cross. Every time you serve, there is a hint of the cross in what you do.
God Provides the Strength You Need to Serve
God knows that we are imperfect and weak. He knows the hardships we face. Yet he still chooses to work through us, not matter what kind of gift or ministry responsibility you have.
1 Peter 4:11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Some people have more verbal gifts, like teaching or encouraging. Others have more practical gifts, like getting things done. But whatever kind of gift you have, you can expect God to work supernaturally to empower your serving and make it count.
Whatever gifts and abilities you have received, use them! Find your strengths and put them into play to help others. When you do, something supernatural takes place, as divine grace and blessing gets dispensed to others around you.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- In your experience, what are some reasons why people serve (whether good or bad)?
- What are some reasons why people don’t serve?
- Read 1 Peter 4:8-10. What are the three expressions of love mentioned there? Explain why each is a reflection of genuine love.
- Read 1 Peter 4:10. How are the gifts God gives us expressions of his grace – both to us and to others?
- How have you experienced God’s goodness or favor as a result of someone else’s service? What happened?
- Read Mark 10:43-45. Should Jesus’ attitude apply to us? Why or why not?
- Read 1 Peter 4:11. Do your gifts lie more in the realm of “speaking” or “helping”? Explain.
- According to verse 11, how does God work when you exercise your abilities to serve others?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.