Reading: 1 Peter 4:10-11
Every person that is in union with Jesus Christ has a spiritual gift given by the grace of God. The words at the start and at the end of 1 Peter 4:10 are closely connected: “As every man hath received the gift” and “the manifold grace of God.” These words simply mean that the gift a believer possesses (whatever that may be) is one which he has received by the grace of God. John Calvin described it as that “which God has committed to us.” It is something that God Himself gives according the abundance of His grace.
Paul had the gift of ministry. Barnabas had the gift of encouragement. Philip had the gift of an evangelist. Others had gifts that were extremely needful and useful in the church: but all of those things were given by the Lord. He moved in grace upon His people and equipped them for the work He wanted them to do. In a very real sense He bestowed these gifts upon them. Naturally, not all believers have the same gifts. 1 Peter 4:10 speaks of the “manifold grace of God.” The word manifold means “various” and leads to the thought of variety. In other words, there are different gifts among the people of God. In 1 Corinthians 12:4 Paul said, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit.” Believers have different gifts. Some have the gift of teaching or preaching, while others are gifted in areas of encouragement and help or administration and support. There are different gifts.
We should also note that not all gifts are given to believers in the same measure. Not all believers have the same gifts, and even those who do, may not have them to the same degree. As the Lord gives these gifts, He does so in His perfect wisdom. The very measure of the gift is determined by an all-wise Saviour! These gifts will be evident. A true spiritual gift cannot be hidden; it will be apparent without having to be announced.
Alexander Nisbet once said, “There are none of the Lord’s people who have not received some gifts from Him.” This is part of what the Lord has done for us. He has brought us into His body, made us members of His church, adopted us into His family and has blessed us with some ability to serve Him. Let us use our talents wisely.
Great faithfulness in the use of small gifts hath great acceptance, and a great and sure reward. Great receipts engage to greater returns, and therefore require the greater diligence. (Bishop Robert Leighton, Commentary on 1 Peter, p. 432)