Key Verse | 1 Peter 4:10

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Scripture | 1 Peter 4


Stewards of God's Grace

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, 1 4:1 Some manuscripts add for us; some for you arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 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.

Suffering as a Christian

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory 2 4:14 Some manuscripts insert and of power and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And

“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 3 4:18 Greek where will the ungodly and sinner appear?

19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Footnotes

[1] 4:1 Some manuscripts add for us; some for you
[2] 4:14 Some manuscripts insert and of power
[3] 4:18 Greek where will the ungodly and sinner appear?

Good Service Comes from Great Stewards.



Devo | 1 Peter 4

God gave each of us unique abilities, and He wants us to use them to impact others. Today's key verse describes moving from simply "having gifts" to making an impact—by...

God gave each of us unique abilities, and He wants us to use them to impact others. Today's key verse describes moving from simply "having gifts" to making an impact—by becoming "good stewards" of our gifts.

What is a steward? A steward is someone who oversees the resources of a household. (Some translations use "managers" instead of "stewards" in this verse.) A steward doesn't own the house or its inhabitants' possessions. But like Joseph in the household of Potiphar (Genesis 39), a steward manages the owner's possessions on the owner's behalf.

That means God's command to "steward" our gifts is very meaningful (and a big responsibility). He sees our special abilities as things He owns and wants us to manage excellently. We don't just "have" these gifts; we must steward them well so they deeply glorify God and powerfully benefit other people. So how can we do that?

Great stewards identify what God has entrusted to them. Have you recognized your spiritual gifts, your natural talents, and the experiences and passions that prepare you to serve others? (If not, see the Discussion section below.)

Great stewards celebrate what God has given. Are you grateful for how God has made and prepared you—as opposed to wishing you had other gifts or experiences? God formed your life in a particular way for a particular impact! He made you "fearfully and wonderfully" (Psalm 139:14). Celebration is called for!

Great stewards grow their gifts. Matthew 25:14-30 describes people who took what their Master entrusted and either squandered it or grew it. (There was no in-between.) God has entrusted you with experiences, talents, passions, and spiritual gifts. However, using them well requires learning, practice, and growth. As long as abilities remain "raw" instead of mature, they can't be used as effectively.

Great stewards use their gifts powerfully. Peter provides two categories that cover most forms of impact: "speaking" and "serving" (1 Peter 4:11). In both cases, he describes using gifts with gusto: by speaking on God's behalf, or by serving in the strength of God. Either way, there's a sense of powerful—even supernatural—impact.

Discussion Questions

1. Which of the four marks of a great steward comes most easily for you? Which one do you struggle with the most?

2. Have you examined how God has made you? Do you recognize your spiritual gifts, natural talents, key experiences, and inward passions for serving others? If not, you can learn more about spiritual gifts here. Watermark's Shape Survey is also a good way to reflect on (and, if you're local to Dallas or Rockwall, let us know about) your abilities and opportunities to impact others.

3. Investing in growing your gifts is a spiritual discipline. What is one way you can work on growing in an area of natural talent or spiritual gifting? (Options include studying related themes in the Bible, learning practical skills, getting mentored, finding opportunities to practice using it, etc.)

4. Every Watermark Member agrees to serve in some regular, ongoing way. If you're not currently serving in this way, what is one step you can take this week to start simply—but simply start? This could include looking for a great volunteer role, emailing a few ministries you're interested in serving with, or talking with your community group about good options (and asking them to hold you accountable to getting started).

5. If you are currently serving, has your impact gone beyond "checking the box" to "maximizing your ministry"? Would your community group and others say that your gifts are being used in the best ways they currently can be?

Meet Benson Hines

The word steward makes me think of Joseph's midlife vocation as Potiphar's steward, described in Genesis 39. And that passage always reminds me that I played Potiphar in a high school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was the role that required the least amount of singing (for good reason) . . . and I wore an Egyptian-style skirt. (Thank goodness social media wasn't prevalent.)

Now I get to play another non-singing role as Watermark's Director of Serving. I have the privilege of helping our people find fantastic ways to "steward" the gifts God has given them!

11 Comments available

Hugh Stephenson 4 months ago

GM Benson! THANK YOU for stewarding your gift of helping others. I know you are a huge gift to the staff.

Q1. & Q2.

Then- None. I wanted what I wanted. Now- A better understanding of who God is has led me to a better understanding of my gifts from Him.

Q3. & Q4. God has gifted me in shepherding in Prodigal and mentoring others. I grow by diving into the huge treasure trove of verses and wisdom He has for me.

Q5. I think so… but its hard to answer as I know I can always do more.

Reflecting today on 1 Peter 4:7-12.

Is this the end? The “end of all things”?

A frequent sermon admonition is “Be ready for THIS day to be THAT day”.

So, I notice Peter’s admonition- “…therefor be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers”.

Hugh Stephenson 4 months ago

Here’s God’s call to me:

Be faithful- know God and make Him known. Proclaim, Exodus (19:5-6). Witness, (Acts 1:8). Teach, (Matthew 28:19-20).

Then I’ll suffer the “fiery trial”.

That will give God glory.

Then I’ll receive blessings.

Why?

“…because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you”.

In candor, part of me asks, “Can we just get to the blessing without all that sufferings and trials?

Hugh Stephenson 4 months ago

Jesus lovingly smiles at me and says:

Hey Hugh. We talked about this before. You know the answer and you know why.

Keep your eyes focused on me. I started your faith and I’ll finish it. I promise.

Your sin of desiring ease and comfort entangles you. Cast it off.

The joy I have for you was the joy set before me by my Father in Heaven. That joy set my eyes on Jerusalem. Even though I knew the suffering, shame, and fiery trial before me.

That joy was with me even though I was in such anguish in Gethsemane that I sweated blood, I still chose you, (Luke 22:42).

Keep an eternal perspective and run the race I have marked out for you.

I am coming soon.

Jermaine Harrison 4 months ago

Thanks for sharing Benson! I love the reminder in verse 11, that our gifts and even the ability to steward those gifts is something God provides for us. What a humbling thought.

I’m praying today that I use my gifts to glorify God, and bless others. I pray that I’m alert and sober minded as verse 7 calls me to, and that my life is marked by prayer as a result.

Tonni Shook 4 months ago

Hey Benson! Loved helping you with the surveys!

I would love to know how to use my spiritual gifts - Faith, Prophecy, & Discernment - top 3, according to the assessment. I always called it a sixth sense, an inner knowing, BC. Now I know it’s much more & they are God-given gifts.

Resources would be helpful!

Sue Bohlin 4 months ago

SUPER devo, Benson!

Two things:

LOVE the divine title I’ve somehow missed all these years: “Spirit of Glory.” I’m munching on THAT one, since the Holy Spirit always, always, always directs attention away from Himself to Jesus. So it’s not about HIS own glory . . .

“Love covers a multitude of sins.” Best ever parenting verse.

Michael Scaman 4 months ago

Peter has made several appeals to do things ‘for the sake of your prayers’ or ‘that your prayers not be hindered’

Here 1 Peter 4:7 says “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”

Linda Green 4 months ago

Had to reread to see spiritual gifts-so focused on the verses about suffering I missed it! “…glorify God and powerfully benefit other people”. I like it!

Knowing my spiritual gift of discernment was interesting, but was always in trouble for speaking what I perceived. People are not lining up to have you point out what they don’t see, or don’t want to see. People also saw me as judgmental when saying out loud what I saw.

Until I read that God doesn’t give you the perceiving gift to speak more, but to PRAY more! Talk about relief and praise for the gift I had wanted to return.

(Think 1 Peter 4:1-3 are some of the most encouraging verses for us wrecked by sin. Not going there again.)

Q#1- my time. Emphasis on my, instead of seeing myself as a steward of God’s time. He has allowed me each breath.

Niki Larson 4 months ago

Thank you Benson! So what do you do when the church you attend makes no allowance for you to use or steward such gifts? I was told to be happy in Gods ability to use me even if I never get to walk in my gifting.

Benson Hines 4 months ago
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Great question, Niki! Email me to share more specifics, because so much depends on the situation. But a few notes come to mind: (1) “Spiritual gifts” and “roles” are different. (2) There are usually LOTS of ways a gift can be used. For instance, the gift of Teaching may be used from the stage, through writing, one-on-one, with certain people, etc. (3) If a church doesn’t agree someone has a certain gift, it’s good to listen. They could be wrong, but God’s church should be part of how you come to understand your gifts and how to use them. (4) If a church agrees that someone has a gift but asks them not to use it in ANY way, then that’s surprising. But if they say someone can not use a gift in the exact way that person wants, then that is part of their shepherding of the whole body.

Benson Hines 4 months ago
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@Tonni, thanks for your question yesterday! One of the best ways to grow in our gifts is just to use them! Let God’s Spirit lead as you serve others, and then reflect on HOW He seems to do that and what seems to produce fruit the best. But other people can also be a great help. If you can find mature believers with one of your gifts, talk with them about it. I haven’t dived too deeply into books on spiritual gifts, but I know there are many. I would consider looking for authors and publishers you already trust, and then maybe looking at more than one resource to get different takes. GotQuestions (online) may also have some great thoughts to help you get started.

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