As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same [gift] one to
another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully
administrating God's grace in its various forms (1 Pt.4:10,NIV).
Wouldn't it be a twist at Christmas time to give gifts
with the intent that those gifts, once received, are to be given away. Or perhaps it would
be that they are not actually given away, but that the only use that there would be for a
particular item is in a fashion that it is used to do something for someone else. Imagine
receiving a gift that is not just for your benefit. Imagine it is something like a free
pass to work in a soup kitchen for one year. Imagine the look on someone's face when they
open their present to find a basin, towel and soap, and a note attached that says,
"May you find great joy and fulfillment as you use these items to wash the feet of
Most of us would probably not be to pleased with such a gift. Our ideas of a Christmas
present are usually material in nature and have little to do with serving someone else.
Yet, in the scripture we find that we have been given gifts, "different gifts,
according to the grace given us" (Rom.12:6). But to further examine the scriptures,
we will find that these gifts are not given to us just to benefit self, but that they are
given to us to benefit many. They are the "Christmas Gifts" with strings
attached. That is not a bad thing, for anything worth having often carries a degree of
responsibility on the part of one who possesses it. Jesus tells us in Luke 12:48,
"For unto whomsoever much is give, of him shall much be required." And in
Matthew 10:8 He says, "freely ye have received, freely give."
The gifts of God far exceed our vision and version of annually distributed Christmas
gifts. Our gifts are often designed to end at the receiver; while God's gifts just begin
with the receiver--flowing outward from the receiver to the many he or she would share
them with. While we may give something to wear, or hang on the wall, or something given
just for our immediate gratification; God gives that which brings deeper and lasting
satisfaction to our souls as we truly learn the meaning of the old expression, "It is
far better to give than to receive."
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the
heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). As good
stewards of God's manifold grace, we should be able to see that nothing we have belongs to
us--it is all His, and we are responsible for what we do with it. Whether spiritual gifts,
or earthly endowment, all is given with strings attached--strings that should not end with
us, but stretch out into the lives of so many around us--creating a beautifully designed
web made up of the service and the giving to others of what we have received. It is not
our right to store up for ourselves treasures on this earth, that God has given us.
Instead we have been given the right to be a channel of giving--a conduit of love in
service to those around us. If we are good stewards of all we have, we will be God's open
channel to the world; but if we hoard that which has been given to us, we become an
impasse, clogged by concerns for self, and self-gain.
Do you feel that your "giving" channel has been clogged by self-concern and
self-gain? If so, you will be happy to know that there is a kind of spiritual
"draino"--it's simply called "service." The practice of service to
others will eat at the clog of self-centeredness until God can freely use you as a
spiritual conduit of His grace.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful
(1 Corinthians 4:2).