“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
As Christians, we are told over and over again to give to others, to consider others better than ourselves, and to show the love of God to those around us. Those challenges are wonderful and inspiring, but how do we actually do that on a practical level?
First, we need to consider why we would want to serve others. Many times, we want to serve others for our resume, to be liked, to “earn points” with God or our Christian leaders, or because we have a chance to hang out with our friends.
Many times, we don’t want to serve others because it is an inconvenience. It takes time out of our weekends, we don’t get paid for it, and sometimes it can just be boring. Those are the wrong attitudes to have because serving is a privilege.
It is a blessing and honor because of what God has given to us. He commands that we give back because it is the right thing to do. When we are in touch with the reality that we are nothing without Christ, we will want to give back. When we are in touch with the reality that everything we have on Earth is from Christ, we will want to give back.
Giving to and serving others is a direct response to the love found in our hearts and the reality of God’s grace in giving that to us. When we are motivated to give because of what has been given to us, we can look at the verse above with openness and a willingness to be used.
We can then move to the next level of giving back by examining what we can offer others. We are all given special gifts and talents to use in this world. Whether you are good at sports, love children, enjoy learning, or are just a nice person, you can be used to serve others.
You can give to your family members, your neighbors, your friends, and even strangers. You can serve by yourself or with a group. You can leave a penny in the cup at the gas station, give the money in your wallet to a homeless person, volunteer at a local organization, share with or be kind to your younger sibling, or just sit with someone at lunch that doesn’t have a friend.
God wants us to be faithful to serving Him in these ways by recognizing that we can be used just like we are. We don’t have to be a star athlete, on the honor roll, or a Captain at camp. God created you just as you are and intended on using you for His glory just as you are– no more, no less.
Take Away: Take an inventory of your life and how you spend your time. Other than school and sleep, how do you fill your afternoons, nights, and weekends? It is important to have fun, spend time with your friends, and do what you want. It is equally as important to spend some of that time giving back. Make a list of some ways you’d like to get involved in your community, church, or school. Talk with your parents about helping you take the next step.