Each of us has received grace-gifts from God. And “as each has received a gift,” we are to “use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). We are given these gifts for the “progress and joy” of one another’s faith (Philippians 1:25).
Pride-Infected Gift Stewards
But we are all by sin nature selfaholics, born with an addiction to the intoxication of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3) and others thinking more highly of us than they ought to think.
And because remaining sin still dwells in us born-again saints, we find this old addictive pride still infects our view of ourselves and others when it comes to the grace-gifts we receive from God. Rather than seeing our gifts as things we don’t at all deserve and seeing others’ gifts as merciful means of grace to us, we frequently battle sinful discontentment. We often feel that we are not as gifted as we would like to be, or that our gifts don’t receive enough recognition, or that we would prefer another set of gifts altogether, impressive gifts like So-and-So has.
How Our Gifts Bless Others and Sanctify Us
Now, this exposure of pride in us is actually part of God’s design in the distribution of gifts among his children. As God doles out these unearned gifts among us in unequal measures, it has the gracious effect of drawing pride out into the light from the murky darkness of our deceptive hearts. Every time we compare ourselves to others and either exult in feeling superior or resent in feeling inferior to them, God is inviting us to glorify him by repenting of our pride and humbling ourselves under his mighty, wise hand and trusting him to exalt us in the time and way it seems best to him (1 Peter 5:6).
“Our lives are not about pursuing our dreams.”
That makes this a glorious design! It is sheer genius. It is a two-way channel of blessing if we will embrace it. God gifts all of us in such a way that our gifts channel blessings to others by meeting various needs, and they channel the blessing of humility to us by exposing our pride and pushing us to receive God’s grace to live by God-pleasing faith (Hebrews 11:6). When this happens it produces gratitude in everyone. It’s perfect! Our gifts work to bless others and sanctify us. It’s exactly what recovering selfaholics need.
Our Gifts Are for Others’ Benefit
Back to Peter’s words: “each has received a gift” (1 Peter 4:10). This needs to land on us with appropriate weight. God wants us to know that our gifts are not an accident of genetics and experience. He knew what he was doing when he made each of us and he has intentionally given us the gifts we have in the measure we have them.
Therefore, we are stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to us. And he has entrusted them to us primarily for the benefit of others (1 Peter 4:10; Romans 12:4–6). Our gifts are not intended to be platforms where we try to gain our sense of significance from the esteem of men. Our real significance comes from God choosing us in Christ, gifting us, and deploying us in his kingdom for his purposes. There is more significance there than we can fully comprehend and appreciate. The praise of men is usually vicarious fluff.
Live Your Assignment
You are on assignment from God. This is why Paul says, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (1 Corinthians 7:17). “You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). You are “a bondservant of Christ” (1 Corinthians 7:22) and a steward of the gifts you have received. Others need your gifts. That’s why you have them.
“There is no higher calling for you than to be who God called you to be.”
Our lives are not about pursuing our dreams. Many of our dreams are self-exalting pride fantasies and gratuitously selfish when we really examine them. And the truth is, we rarely know what’s best for us and what will really make us happy. But our Designer knows. He knows exactly what we’re made for and how we can live the life we’ve been given to the fullest and most fruitful. If we follow him by faith, he will lead us in the most ultimately fulfilling paths — even when those paths lead through suffering and death.
So, live your assignment. Steward your gifts to the utmost for the sake of others. Aspire to be the very best and most fruitful you that you can be for God’s glory. Don’t dishonor God by devaluing the gifts he’s given you. Don’t waste valuable time grumbling about gifts you don’t have or resenting others for the gifts they do have, or even for the sinful pride they might exhibit. They’re stumbling, recovering selfaholics just like you and God knows how to graciously oppose them (1 Peter 5:5). Pray for them.
“So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:24). There is no higher calling for you than to be you, and God will reward you beyond your wildest dreams if you faithfully steward your gifts for others.