November 2014 is what we are calling "Generous Serving" month. We have issued a challenge to everyone who calls New Life Church home; that is to serve once a month! As I am studying, I keep coming across this text in 1 Peter 4:10-11:
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so 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 see four things that speak directly into "Generous Serving."
All Have Gifts
Peter says each of you. We all have been given a gift. Ed Stetzer from Lifeway Research reports that they found a majority of Christians in a majority of churches are not engaged in meaningful ministry. The statistic says that only 30% have a meaningful ministry role. I was struck with the realization that our churches are filled with those who have gifts and yet are not using them.
All Are Managers
This hits home. We all have gifts and that is encouraging; especially for those who struggle to see their value or place. We are also all managers of that gift. If we are all managers then we are all either good managers or bad managers. When I think of a manager or steward, I think in terms of running or overseeing something that doesn't belong to me, but is for the benefit of the owner and others. Peter tells us we are managers, stewards of God's grace!
We are called to be good managers of God's grace which benefits the world. We do so by using our gifts!
Empowered by the Spirit
Whether we speak or serve, it is by His power and not our own. New Life is a Spirit-led church and I desire to be a Spirit-led man. I am convinced I become a good manager not just by using my gifts, but doing so under the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.
For His Glory
Peter ends his thought with a doxological type of refrain to remind us all that our ultimate purpose is to bring glory to Jesus.
If our church operates in such a way that we disempower the 'managers' among us, then we have missed the point. If a parent doesn't think he or she is able to disciple her children, or if a business man fails to see his life as one of a missionary, then we have not made disciples. We have raised dependents who instead of being engaged are passive and probably show up to church for the show, rather than participate in the mission.
I am a manager of my gift which to equip the saints to be good managers of their gifts, dispensing God's grace, empowered by the Spirit, and bringing glory to Jesus!