Peter 34 - Serving
Serving by the Strength Which God Supplies
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:11)
After having given the admonition to speak as the utterances of God, Peter further admonishes Christians to use the blessings God has given to serve. All of us today have some blessings and abilities which we are to use. It is just as important that we use what we have as it was for those who lived when Peter wrote to use them. We are to be busy with whatever we have.
Furthermore, we are to be content with what we have. Remember, even those with spiritual gifts in the first century were to be content with what gift or gifts they had (1Corinthians 12:14-25). What we have comes from God, too. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). We should be content with what we have. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,’ so that we confidently say, ‘THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6). To be content does not mean being complacent.
We are to use what we have with all the power we have. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father … Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:17,23-24). “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
In reference to using what we have, some do nothing or practically nothing. Such people are spoken of in Scripture: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:1-3); “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17); “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21).
In reference to using what we have, some do, but do iniquity. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:23). This has reference to doing things without proper authority, or to the using of what we have in an unauthorized way. Many Jews were good examples of this. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3).
In reference to using what we have, some have much and do much with what they have. The apostle Paul is a wonderful example of this. He had much. “Although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:4-8).
With reference to using what we have, some have much and do so little with it. The rich man of Luke 12 is an example (Luke 12:13-21). The church at Laodicea is another good example: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Who of us are like these?
With reference to using what we have, some have so very little and do so little. “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours’” (Matthew 25:24-25). One wonders how many failures are of this category.
With reference to using what we have, some have so very little and yet do so much. The woman with the two mites is a classic example (Mark 12:42). The churches of Macedonia illustrate this, also (2Corinthians 8:1-5). What are we doing with what we have?
Each of us has something. Each has enough. The Lord will hold us accountable for what we have (Matthew 25:14-30).