Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I grew up in a congregation with no one on paid pastoral staff, so we knew the reality, and necessity, of everyone effectively playing their part. I was convinced early that every-member-ministry was foundational to church life. “Each one” is hugely important. “Each one” is necessary in God’s plan.
The flip side is that no one is indispensable. In other words, the whole weight of God’s plan does not rest on any one person. No one is called to be the whole church all by themselves. “Each one” has their part. “Each one” has their limits. “Each one” is dependent on others.
What a wonderfully compelling, yet freeing, reality.
At the same time, I’ve been putting this together with James’ phrase, “he gives us more grace” (James 4:6). Peter tells us the Lord chooses to dispense that rich outpouring through us – the great variety of God’s grace is to be faithfully administered by us as we use the gifts God himself has given. Remarkable that we should have been drawn into his purposes so directly.
I also note that the administration of the gift is to be in proportion to “the strength God provides” (verse 11). The contribution of “each one” will therefore look very different, some with Samson-sized impact and some with less. The size is not our responsibility – whether big or small, it’s no reflection on us. Our responsibility is simply to use what we have been given. Seeking to use the full measure of the strength the Lord provides, that’s our goal and calling.
This then spills over into the wonderful mosaic-effect of life in the Body of Christ. My own contribution will be one small part of the whole. If I focus exclusively on my portion, I could well be discouraged by the measure of the divine impact. Sometimes striking, yes, because God is at work – but often much more subtle. Yet taken together with every other part of the Body it’s a different story. Viewing the whole, the colours and textures add up to a work of art that shows the divine design and creativity, displaying his purposes and intent. The Apostle Paul, speaking collectively of the church, says, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). “Handiwork” comes from a word that translates into English as “poem” – truly, we are his poetry, his art, his workmanship, his masterpiece. But it’s all of us together that produce this desired effect, as “each one … (uses) whatever gift he has received.”
So engage, fully and completely, with all the muster you’ve got, to give expression to the grace the Lord himself is pouring out. May it all be to the praise of Jesus’ name. “To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Dear Lord, please strengthen my passion and commitment to engage fully in all the work you have called me to do. Give me joy in speaking, joy in serving, joy in using whatever gifts you have given. And may it all be to your glory. Amen.
How might the Lord be wanting to minister his grace through you today? Whether big or small, step into it with gusto. You’ll add to the Big Picture that he himself is unfolding.
Photo by Kim Stiver: https://www.pexels.com/.../person-s-holds-brown-gift-box.../