Stewardship of Our Gifts

Rod Hutton November 8, 2020 1 Peter 4:10-11
Outline

Stewardship – God-given responsibility with accountability

Four Factors of Stewardship

1. God owns everything, you own nothing

2. God entrusts you with everything you have

3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given; He wants you to increase it

4. God can call you into account at any time, and it may be today

The author assumes you already know two things:

#1. That every Christian is gifted by God to accomplish certain things in His church

1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 11 - Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

#2. That you understand the way God wants you to minister

4 truths to properly steward our gifts

I. Use your gifts

Romans 12:6-8 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

II. Focus on benefitting others

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

A. Consider how ministry can be beneficial

1 Corinthians 12:18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

B. It comes from the manifold grace of God

III. Maximize your ministry potential

1 Peter 4:11a 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

A. Speakers: learn to be a better interpreter of God’s Word

B. Servants: with the strength the Lord provides

IV. Proper Use brings glory to God through Christ

1 Peter 4:11b so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Welcome back, I am so glad that you are with us this week as we continue our study on Stewardship and God’s call upon us on how we will manage all that we have.

I hope that the first two weeks have caused you to take some time for self-evaluation on how you have stacked your priorities to seek to put God in first place in all things. Then, did you come out of last week considering how we steward our time? This is not about seeking to make your days more efficient, but rather that we would seek to make the most of our limited time choosing to use each day in a way that glorifies the Father. Am I using my time well by asking the Lord to make me glad, to show me his work, and to confirm mine?

Today we are going to explore stewarding God’s gifts by maximizing the use of what He has given us for the benefit of others and the glory of God in Christ.

Now I am not talking about the gifts that we might receive on a birthday or Christmas and how we use those gifts,

but rather we are talking about the giftedness God has created each of us with for his kingdom, we will be looking at the skills and talents that God grows in each of us.

Before we dig in there – let’s review the foundation for what God’s Word tells us about Stewardship as a whole and then will dig into what it says about gifts.

First – We encourage all of us that call Faith home to memorize a few phrases during Stewardship month –

Let’s start with the definition:

Stewardship is God given ___________ with ___________

Stewardship is God given responsibility with accountability.

Stewardship is so much more than just how we use our finances and discussing biblical giving, we are called to bring these principles into all parts of our lives.

We know that based on his Word, Psalm 24 tells us that “The Earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains.” That means you, your children, your home this church…can you find anything outside “all that it contains.”? This is where we get the first factor in Stewardship that God owns everything and you own nothing.

1. God owns everything, you own nothing.

1 Cor 4:7 asks us “What do you have that you did not receive?” I am incapable of creating anything for myself, it all that I have had to come from somewhere, which means that it all came from God – God gave you what you have, you did not get it for yourself, hence the second factor.

2. God entrusts you with everything you have.

But it is more than just God gives it to you, because then we might think we get to choose.

“Entrusts” is the key word of this sentence. God decides to give to each of you a portion of what belongs to him.

For each of us, God hand chooses exactly what he entrusts to you. And then -

3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given; He wants you to increase it.

  • For example when it comes to art – I like to say that I inspired my daughter to become an artist. When Malia was 9 years old, we traveled from Italy back to Minnesota so she could be a part of her cousin’s wedding. While we were there, I taught here to draw a character that looked like this, [insert slide with Rod’s drawing] If I drew a picture of you today – you might just look like this too
  • Thankfully God gifted Malia with far more and she has increased her gift and this is what her art looks like now. [insert slide of Malia’s art]
  • Every one of us has been entrusted with a host of different abilities, talents, finances, time, strength and God calls us to steward it for him.
  • Wait a minute, what are you talking about?
  • What gift is he referring to?
  • Do I have one of those?
  • If God equipped you for teaching then you have to be teaching.
  • If God equipped you to be an exhorter then you have to exhort.
  • If God equipped you to be a giver then you have to give liberally
  • If God equipped you to be a mercy giver then you have to give mercy with cheerfulness.
  • Can you imagine Pastor Viars Job? We are all on our video call staff meeting in a pandemic and he’s telling us “Let’s go take that hill. Come on, we can do I t with the Lord’s Strength.”
  • Then there’s me on my side of the call [Play the video clip from Up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vrMFcleDp4)]
  • Each kind of speaking opportunity may have different needs for the depth of study, the way the material is presented, or the amount of material you discuss.
  • But please, please, please see each opportunity as a chance to instill the word of the Lord to those you are serving.
  • Rob Green has been teaching me that in counseling, if the word is not central to the counseling, then it is not the ministry of the word.

God wants us to increase our gifts.

Lastly we have to remember that it is responsibility with accountability

4. God can call you into account at any time, and it may be today.

So if it might be today – let’s dig in and learn some more.

Today, we are going to study the Stewardship of Gifts. Please turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 4:10.

Now when we jump into a passage in the middle like this, I have to remember that some of us probably don’t have the first 4 chapters of 1 Peter memorized,

so when Peter begins by saying, “As each one has received a special gift.” You might already be asking…

Jumping into the middle of the passage can be kind of like walking into a conversation half-way through,

Either we have no clue what they are talking about and we just wait until they change the topic

or maybe after hearing 1-2 words, we assume we know and we jump right into the conversation. And suddenly they look at you like you are from Mars?

Both are awkward, don’t you want to know a little more about the conversation? Don’t you at least want to know where it all started?

Well, here’s Peter’s starting point.

Peter assumes that you know 2 things.

#1. That every Christian is gifted by God to accomplish certain things in His church

The Bible teaches that God specifically gives gifts to his children at the time when they place their faith and trust in Jesus’s finished work for their salvation.

1 Corinthians 12:4-5, Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

The Bible teaches that one role of the Holy Spirit is to distribute gifts to God’s people. This means that every single one of you that has placed your faith in Christ for your salvation has been given all you need to make a difference for the cause of Christ. You have been equipped to help the church grow and mature.

I need to stop for a moment and talk to anyone who might not have a saving faith in Jesus.

If there is not a time that you know that you placed your faith in Him for the forgiveness of sin and you have trusted your life to him –

then there is a FAR GREATER QUESTION for you before considering spiritual gifts.

For you, the most important matter is the repenting of sin and trusting in the D/B/R of Jesus Christ for your salvation. Any of our Pastors would love nothing more than to talk with you and answer any questions you may have.

But Peter is writing to followers of Christ, so the first matter is knowing that you have been gifted by God to accomplish ministry in the church.

Each of us has been gifted in the way that God created us. By his grace, he has entrusted each of us with natural talents. By his grace, we use them before we are saved, and then we are called to steward them as his followers.

As we saw in 1 Cor 12 – Each believer is also given spiritual gifts. There are 4 main passages in the NT that discuss spiritual gifts. 1 Cor 12-14 is the largest along with Rom 12:3-8, Eph 4:7-16 and our passage today 1 Peter 4 10-11. Each list alone is not exhaustive, but as examples we see that God gifts some as pastors and teachers, to others a word of knowledge or discernment, or mercy, giving or hospitality.

In both areas of gifts, we are called to steward them for God. For example -

An elementary teacher may demonstrate excellence in teaching even before they know Christ. Then when they later choose to follow Christ, should they use their teaching gifts in Children’s ministry, I would say that that is a resounding YES.

Or let’s look at what would be considered a spiritual gift – my wife has a gift of discernment as well as the compassion. Should she keep these to herself because others may not like what she has to say? No – she has stewarded her gifts in the area of biblical counseling where she can show deep compassion while also discerning and counseling from the truth of God’s Word

So knowing that every Christian is gifted by God to accomplish certain things in His church, Peter also assumes that we understand the way that God wants us to minister.

#2. That you understand the way God wants you to minister

Here’s the problem some folks have though – there is no formula or spiritual gift test that God gives us to discern how God has gifted you to serve in his church. Yet there is a clear expectation in each of the gift passages that you would know how God wants you to use your gifts.

I see the look in your eyes – that’s not fair. Are you telling me that God expects me to know how I am supposed to serve, but does not provide a spiritual gift test inventory for me to figure it out? Yes, that is what I am saying.

Then how am I supposed to figure it out? How does God want me to serve in the body? Start simple – start by just filling a need and watch what happens.

What I am saying is that there is a discovery phase in the growing of the gifts God has given us. Sometimes that discovery phase will show you ways that God is not calling you to serve just as much as he will show you where He will equip you to serve.

If you are in the discovery phase, still asking what are my giftings – I want to encourage you – start by trying all different types of ministries. Serve in Living Nativity, serve in Christmas for Everyone, serve here at the community center, ask your NBG leader if you can be in charge of hospitality. Jump in humbly, and see where the Lord wants you to serve.

Now let’s get to the passage - finally you say – but all of that was needed so that we have the basic foundation needed to understand the phrase “as each one has received a special gift.”

Join me in 1 Peter 4 starting at verse 10:

READ 1 Pet 4:10-11

With that foundation and looking at God’s Word, we are going to consider 4 ways we can properly steward our gifts.

The first is going to be our “Uh---Duh” moment

I. Use your gifts

That seems pretty obvious doesn’t it. If we have served enough to understand God’s gifting in our lives, then the next step should clearly be to put it back in the sock drawer and never look at it again.

No, you say? The parable of the talents is more about finances or stuff, but remember the response of the master to the one who hid the money in the ground? “You wicked and lazy slave.” The same principle applies to our spiritual gifts. We are not called to hide them in the ground, We are called to use them.

Romans 12:6-8 says…

Romans 12:6-8 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Just as Peter assumes, Paul calls us to use our gifts – to exercise them accordingly.

In 1999 I decided I wanted to run the Honolulu Marathon. I was a runner, so how do you think I prepared – I played golf, went to the beach, I watch movies about marathons – I’m ready right – No, I had to exercise my legs. I was equipped to run, so I had to run.

Both Peter and Paul are highlighting different ways that people serve and are used by the Lord and the message is clear.

This is why it is absolutely critical that no member of Faith church ever believe it is okay for 100% of the work is doing by 10%, 20%, 50% or 75% of the people.

Have you ever worked in a place where 90% of the work got done by 10% of the people? God has a different way for the church. The Bible teaches that every believer in Jesus must be actively using their gifts. The only biblical formula is 100% of the work is done by 100% of the people.

If you are not serving, I want to exhort you (because his word says I have to exhort), I want go exhort you to not hide your gifts under a layer of “I’m too busy” or “I’m not gifted.”

If you want to steward your gifts – You HAVE to use them.

Let’s push this understanding even a step further. Consider the popularity of people with certain ministry tasks.

How about the Mercy people, who always give mercy with cheerfulness? Who doesn’t want to be around them? They are always encouraging – I may have gained 25 pounds, but they still find a way to tell me that my outfit looks great today

The exhorter is not that guy – everybody avoids the exhorter – because have been given the discernment to see truth and a heart to tell you in the nicest possible way “Dude, I love you, but whatever diet your one ain’t working and you might want to consider a new pair of pants.” No exhorter gets voted “Most popular” in their high school yearbook

What about teacher – gifted teachers are always popular. We want a gifted teacher who can unpack God’s word in clear ways that resonate with the way we think.

What about leaders? It’s hard to exercise leadership, yet the Bible says to do so with diligence. You see leaders also have people who don’t always want to be led

Not sure Steve is any more excited about dragging me up that hill than Carl is dragging Russell

My point is that we are not called to ministry for ourselves, for our popularity or to make us feel good. We are called to use the gifts that God has given us in a manner that glorifies His name. When Christ built his church, He had a plan for you at this time and place to use just the gifts that He selected for you.

Who am I to say – Lord, I don’t want to do that. I want to serve over there where it looks fun and they are always getting praise. So if I can’t serve there – I’m not doing anything.

Remember, Stewardships is a God-given responsibility, not a chosen responsibility, and it hold accountability so whatever the Lord has given you stewardship is embracing the gift given and finding ways to exercise it.

If you need help discovering your gifts, or putting them to use, talk to one of the Pastors, one of our jobs is to help plug you in where God has gifted you. We might have to try a couple things, but the first step is to use your gifts.

So far we have seen in His word that each believer in Christ has been gifted an specific ministry package of gifts and that the first step is to use them.

Let me pause for a moment, I am not going to spend any time on the issue, but I do want to acknowledge that it is possible to sin in using the gifts we have been given. Think about, if you have the gift of exhortation, but you use it to tear others down, or if you have the gift of worship but you use it to gain praise for you instead of for Christ. Pride and selfish uses of your gifts corrupt those same gifts and can make your ministry ineffective or possibly even destroy the ministry.

We can also sin in ways where we attempt to avoid the use of our gifts because it will be hard, or it may make us unpopular.

But Peter calls us to use your gifts to benefit others.

II. Your gifts benefit others

Some of these uses are very clear – Dionnis and the worship team use their gifts to our benefit every week, while those who lead may feel more challenged because others might not like where their leaders are taking them

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Consider How Ministry can be beneficial

Think about it – in the history of our church – without the diligent leadership of Pastor Goode and Doctor Smith, we don’t have the counseling ministry that serves our church and our community. Without the leaders in our church, we don’t have a School, a Seminary, Vision of Hope and Restoration Ministries, NO Faith West and No Northend Community Center

Was the path hard and rocky? Yup. Did others say it couldn’t be done? They sure did? Did some folks just take their ball and go home because they did not like the direction we were going? Sadly, yes

Those leaders did not lead to build up their name – they did so to serve one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. In doing so they them opened the door to even more meaningful serving opportunities for other in the body, they lead so that we might have the chance to use our gifts to benefit others.

For myself, coming to the Northend has allowed me to discover gifts I had not developed before. I would not have considered the gift of exhortation previously, but in the ministry here, I have met and gotten to know people from walks of life I didn’t get to meet before. I get to hear about stories and life circumstances that are hard, where suffering is real, yet at the same time sometimes God puts it on my heart to speak a challenging truth from his word that they may see Christ. Not everyone wants to hear truth, but even in exhortation I know that it is for their good.

Then there are areas I struggle because I am not gifted. God did not gift me with a heart of mercy and giving needed to open doors to relationships with some of the young men who come here throughout the week. Instead God equipped the church with Bob who is gifted in mercy, generous giving that he might benefit others as he builds relationships.

Delete1 Cor 12:18

We need all of us to use our gifts to the benefit of others so that the fullest benefit of the ministry can be achieved. So what is the motivation to using our gift to benefit others?

It comes from the manifold grace of God

The motivation does not come from within us or even involve us other tan we are the ones who receive the gifts. No, our gifts themselves are a part of the manifold grace of God in others words, we do not deserve the gifts we have been given, but God gave them to us anyway. We are not worthy of the gifts we have received, yet God grants to us these gifts.

Remember – It is by grace you have been saved through faith; we are his workmanship created in Christ for good works.

Eph 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The gifts we receive are a part of His grace, and his workmanship so that we may do good works for the benefit of others. Our motivation to use our gifts draws right back to the work of Christ at the cross for the purpose of our salvation.

We have looked at two ways to steward our gifts so far…first just use them, then choose to use them for the benefit of others, next we want to seek to.

III. Maximize your potential in using your gifts

1 Peter 4:11a 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

This is an interesting portion of the passage. Peter did not use just preach or teach, limiting the scope to smaller numbers, rather he says “whoever speaks,” so this call is much more broad and applies to many of us in one way or another.

Speakers: learn to be a better interpreter of God’s Word

If you believe that God has designed you to serve the body of Christ by using your voice, then maximizing your potential involves the ability to speak more consistently what God says.

This relates to exhorter people, to teacher people, and to encourager people. This involves pastors, NBG leaders, CM teachers, counselors, and mentors. It is your job to communicate the utterances of God. The Word of God, not the word of Rod.

So we remember that Romans calls us to exercise our gifts – or in this case, maybe it is that we need a work-out routine so that we can use our gifts. Your work-out may involve reading a book on Bible Study, reading a commentary, taking a class through Faith Community Institute this spring or maybe it is simply diving deeper into the study with your NBG.

If God wants you to use your voice to serve others, then be diligent to ensure that the words you speak reflect Him and not you.

Servants: with the strength the Lord provides

When we think about serving we would consider things like mercy, helps, leading, and giving or hospitality.

To do something with the strength the Lord provides suggests an honest dependence on the Lord. It is not that my service automatically happens, it is that I am serving dependent on the Lord to give me the strength to fulfill the ministry. Rather than a prideful bravado, there is humble dependence.

I could see that with a gift of helps. A person decides to serve a neighbor by raking their leaves. I need strength and energy to accomplish that task. A person decides to make someone else a meal. They need strength and energy for that task.

I could see that with leading. Dragging all the Russells requires a lot of strength and energy. When people are not wanting to be led, energy can be hard to come by.

Serving in ways that are beneficial to people can be exhausting and it requires the Lord’s strength to keep moving in the right direction.

Maximizing your potential is all about the 3rd stewardship factor … That God wants me to increase. Increasing does not necessarily mean you have more opportunities, but that your opportunities are more effective.

That brings us to the final point this morning to effectively steward your gifts …

IV. Seeks God’s glory in Christ

1 Peter 4:11b so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

For any ministry to grow and be effective, this verse must be central. Whether leading a major ministry or simply teaching youth, the purpose in our heart matters more than all the rest.

It is possible in ministry situations to do things for our own glory and fame. When we are more interested in speaking our words, than God’s or more interested in boasting in our strength than his. We are serving up a recipe that fails in stewardship. You can either increase or diminish the gifts God has given you. When used for our own glory, our gifts are clearly diminished.

But when we are dedicating to doing our speaking using the utterances of God and when we are dedicated to using God’s strength in our serving, then there is nothing left for us to boast about. It was God’s word and God’s strength that made the ministry possible.

The result is that God is glorified through Jesus Christ. Jesus, in turn, owns glory and dominion for all eternity.

So far this month we have looked at Stewarding our Priorities, Stewarding our Time and now our gifts. I hope that you will choose to use your gifts, do so in a way that serves others, seek to maximize that potential, and in everything do so to bring glory to God. In our stewardship of all that God has entrusted us with, my prayer is that we would all live in a way that leads to that prized reception at His side when he says Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant.

Authors

Rod Hutton

Roles

Northend Community Center Director - Northend Ministries

Bio

B. Mathematics – University of Minnesota
M.A. – National Security Affairs – Naval Post Graduate School
M. Div – Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Rod Hutton and his wife Kathy have been married for 30 years. They have five children, Chris, Tim , Malia, Grace and Josie. The Huttons came to Lafayette on assignment with the Navy to Purdue University which afforded the opportunity to attend Faith Bible Seminary. In 2018, Rod retired from Naval Service and joined the staff to lead the efforts in opening and operating the Northend Community Center and in 2019 he was ordained as a pastor with Faith Church.