As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (1 Peter 4:10, ESV)

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the sheer magnitude of the differing gifts that God gives to people, whether that be physical gifts or spiritual gifts.  Study people for any amount of time and you will see that we have widely varying gifts; my son-in-law can barely stand to pick up a book and read, but he is endlessly tinkering with mechanical things.  Mechanical things completely confound me, but I have an ever present stack of books at various places around the house and listen to more on audible.  My daughter-in-law is a doula and has attended the births of more than 30 babies.  No one forced this interest on her, it is a gift from God.  Michael Jordan is one of the best basketball players of all time, but imagine if he had lived in the 1800’s instead of the 1900’s, what good would his talent have been then; the same goes for Steve Jobs.  The Bible says:

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7b, ESV)

This is also what our verse teaches.  Each of us has received a gift from God to use in the service of the church.  Look around at church and you will see that those gifts are varied; there are teachers and servants and administrators and accountants and encouragers and exhorters and those who are gifted to pray…the list goes on and on. This wide variety is itself a gift from the gift-giving God so that the church would be well-rounded and whole and able to serve each other better.

Peter calls us to be good stewards with the gift God has given us, to serve the church and serve it well and when we do, we are also serving God well.

What if I am shut-in because of illness or age?  John Milton understood something about physical ailment.  He had an eye problem which eventually caused him to go blind.  He composed his most famous poem, Paradise Lost, after he had become blind.  He captured the question of service with special needs very well in his most famous sonnet [bolded words are my highlights]:

When I consider how my light is spent,
   Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
   And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
   My true account, lest He returning chide;
   “Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
   Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best
   Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
   And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
   They also serve who only stand and wait.”
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