Jan 7, 2018 – Serving With Your Gifts 1: Stewards of Grace
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Serving with Your Gifts
1 Peter 4:7-11 (ESV)
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.
We mature spiritually when we serve others with our gifts, with a changed attitude towards:
- what we have (not just materially – but also abilities, power, opportunities, etc.) has been entrusted to us
- v10 a) stewards b) “gift” (gk: karisma) c) God’s varied grace
- v10 “use it to serve one another”
- clarifying the “self” in relation to others
- v11 “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”
- a new perspective in these 3 areas should precede seeking to discover specific gifts – gifts emerge through practicing faithful stewardship of life
Questions for Reflection
- How do you see your own selfishness affect your attitude towards, or experience of, serving others? What kinds of things do you resent? What do you avoid? What expectations of others (when serving them) leads to disappointment?
- Does the concept of stewardship give you a perspective on your possessions, abilities, relationships, areas of influence, etc. that is helpful in utilizing them better? What pitfalls come with viewing what we have as “mine”? How does such an attitude affect generosity?
- What pitfalls can come with seeing yourself as a steward/manager? Does this mindset raise new challenges? How can you properly use the principle of stewardship to develop healthier attitudes and practices in serving?
- Do you set strict boundaries between yourself and others, where you don’t feel compelled to help or share with others? Do you have very porous boundaries where you are constantly burning out in helping others, or assuming others should be doing things for you? How can you grow in your view of your self and your relationship with others so that you can better see what has been entrusted to you, and how to use it in service to others?
- Do you derive joy from doing things to bring glory to God? Have you ever had an experience where you did something for God and had satisfaction from doing it (even if it was hard, or the outcome wasn’t what you wanted)? Have you found yourself doing religious things under the guise of “for God’s glory” but you discern a sense of obligation or resentment? How can you experience freedom and satisfaction by having God’s glory be a purpose/goal in all that you do?
- How do the words “grace”, “gift”, “stewards” set an expectation that serving should be generous, joyful, free – even when it is sacrificial and hard?
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, the earth is yours and everything in it. You have entrusted each of us with something of value to be shared in love. We confess our laziness and how we are slow to take what we have and put it to good use. We confess our covetousness, as we resent the giftedness of others and bare the heavy weight of a sense of inadequacy as a result. We confess our greed and how we want all that we have to be for our own comfort, honor and help. By your grace, forgive our sinful motives and actions and change our attitudes towards our possessions, how we relate to people, and our understanding of the purpose of all things. Remind us of your generosity to us. May we reflect that generosity in how we steward all that you have entrusted to us. May we seek your glory and find our satisfaction in it. Amen.