Stinky Feet #2: Go and Serve

Posted: January 13, 2016 by keystoneyouth in Stinky Feet: Serving in 2016
Tags: , , , , ,

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Introduction:

  • Last week we talked about Jesus coming to serve us.
  • We talked about the fact that Jesus went all out to serve us and that we need to be served by him.
  • I said that this is our ultimate motivation for serving.
  • If you remember I used the illustration of a fire used to cook burgers to give to others. Last week I talked about the fire – what is the fuel, the drive, the motivation that leads us to serve? Jesus serving us! This week I want to talk about the burgers – what is it that we have to offer other people. What is it that we have to serve with?

 Passage: 1 Peter 4:7-11

 Big Idea: God uniquely gifts us to serve other people.

 Main Points:

  • Everyone has a gift
  • God gives us gifts to serve other people.
  • We are called to serve in a way that glorifies God.

Everyone has a gift.

  • Did you know that you have been given a gift by God?
  • God has given us individual and specific gifts. These are the gifts that we often refer to as spiritual gifts. And they mainly refer to certain talents, interests, and abilities that God has given us.
  • This is what Peter is getting at in verse 10 – He’s writing to a group of Christians and telling them that each of them has a gift.
  • Each of them have been given a special ability by God.
  • He says that these gifts are a result of God’s grace.
  • One of the evidences of God’s grace to you is your abilities and talents that he has given you.
  • One of the ways that you know someone else cares for you and loves you is if they give you a gift. People that hate you or don’t like you probably don’t give you gifts. When was the last time someone made fun of you and then turned around and gave you a gift the next day? But people that like us, that love us, and want to demonstrate that to us often give us gifts.
  • God shows his grace and love for us by giving us gifts.
  • So what are these gifts?
  • They could be any number of things. Generally they have been lumped into certain categories.
  • Categories:
    • Organization/Administration
    • Compassion/Mercy
    • Hospitality
    • Speaking/Teaching
    • Leading
    • Service/helping
    • Knowledge
    • Giving
  • But those are kind of broad categories… so what are some more specific examples:
    • Organization – Maybe you love to always have things organized. You have a clean and organized room without your parents even asking you to clean it. You have all of your school assignments organized. You love to have things put in their place and be prepared for what is coming up.
    • Compassion – You are drawn to empathize with other people. It’s easy for you to put yourself in the shoes of someone else. You want to reach out to people who are hurting or suffering.
    • Hospitality – You love having friends over to your house and making them feel at home. You like meeting new people. You are able to make people feel welcome when they walk into a new environment.
    • Speaking – You are a good public speaker. You like to stand up in front of people and command their attention. Your able to tell a story around the lunch table and have everyone listening.
    • Leading – Other people want to be where you are or do the things that you do. You are able to rally people to get on board with a certain event or cause. People listen when you have something to say.
    • Helping – You don’t necessarily like being the center of attention but you are quick to see when and where things need done. You see that someone needs help and so you offer to help him or her.
    • Knowledge – You love to learn. You are able to learn things quickly. You can learn in a short period of time what it takes other people much longer to learn.
    • Giving – You love to be able to give gifts to other people. You see what people need and you are driven to help them with their need.
    • Music – Your good at singing or playing an instrument.
    • Art – You are a talented artist, designer, etc. You have an eye for detail and beauty.
  • There could be many other examples as well.
  • There are thousands of different gifts – I think this is what Peter is getting at when he says that the gifts we have received are a demonstration of God’s varied
    • God’s gifts vary from person to person. So that just like the pictures we looked at in the start, we could look at two people who may seem to have similar gifts and yet immediately begin to pick out differences.
  • So the question is for all of us: How do I figure out what gifts God has given me?
    • Do a take a test?
    • Do I ask my parents?
    • Do I pull from categories out of a hat.
    • Do I pee in a cup and have my doctor test it and tell me. “You peed out knowledge, congratulations!” J
  • I think there are different ways that we can begin to figure out what gifts God has given us… I’ll give you a few of them:
    • What are you good at?
      • What things do you know you are just naturally good at?
    • What do you enjoy doing?
      • What excites you? What do you look forward to doing? What gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you do it?
    • What do other people notice in you?
      • Ask your parents, ask your friends, ask a mentor, ask a youth worker, ask people. You might be surprised by the fact that they can see a gift that you never would have thought you had.
    • I would say a time-tested way to figure out what your gifts are is to just start serving. Don’t just wait until your 100% positive that something is your gift. You probably won’t ever serve if that’s the case.
      • Gifts are given so that we might serve other people. So if we want to figure out what our gifts are – Start serving.

 God gives us gifts to serve other people.

  • God gives you a gift or gifts, not just for yourself. He gives you gifts so that you can serve other people.
  • This is the incredible thing with God.
  • He doesn’t just bless us so that we can enjoy his blessing. He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to other people.
  • God loves assists more then points.
  • When you get the ball passed to you in a sport. You are given the ball not just so that you will take it and try to score everytime – if you do that you become known as a ballhog, right. You are passed the ball and most often you are expected to pass it on to someone else. Someone has given you the ball so that you can give it on to someone else.
  • This is what Peter is getting at when he says that we should use our gifts to serve one another.
  • If you know you have a gift and you aren’t using it, or you are only using it when it benefits you – then you’re being a ballhog. You’re taking something that was meant to be passed on and hoarding it for yourself.
  • Peter goes on to say that we are supposed to be good stewards of God’s varied grace.
  • This word steward has the meaning of someone who is a manager – someone who is responsible over a certain area.
    • When I was in 6th grade I tried out for the basketball team and didn’t make the team. The coach’s eyes hadn’t been opened to my basketball talents yet and he didn’t have an appreciation for my incredible 3-point range. But he decided to offer me the position of manager – right cause this is what happens when coaches cut people but want to do it nicely – it’s like breaking up with someone while constantly reassuring them that you still want to be friends.
    • Anyway, as the manager – I was responsible for keeping track of all the stats. The coach did not expect me to go into the game and make it rain with 3-pointers, but he did expect me to keep track of how many rebounds we snagged, how many fouls number 5 have, and how good was our foul shot percentage. That was my responsibility.
  • When God gives us gifts – he makes us responsible for them. He makes us managers of that gift.
    • If I’m not good at speaking – them I’m not responsible to start looking for and taking opportunities to teach.
    • But if I am good at meeting new people and welcoming them – then I am very responsible for looking for and taking opportunities to use this gift.
  • So I think there are two main ways that we can use the things we’ve been gifted with to serve others:
    • 1) Spontaneously
      • We see a need arise or see an opportunity and we use our gift. Or we look to make opportunities to use our gift.
      • You have the gift of organization – and you see that your brother or sister is cleaning their room – you can stop what your doing and offer to help.
      • I think these opportunities tend to arise more among your family and friends
    • 2) Regularly
      • We take on a specific role regular task that we consistently serve in.
      • Maybe it is being on Student Council, or being a captain of a sports team at school. Or maybe it is being a teachers assistant and helping to grade papers and organize homework. Or serving in your community.
      • Or maybe it is serving in a certain role at church. Maybe it is serving in the kids ministry, or helping with a set-up and teardown, or serving with audio and visual, or serving with a welcome ministry.
    • I am a firm believer that Christians should be serving in the church.
    • I think this is mainly what Peter is calling people too here.
    • We too often come to church just to consume – just too take in good music, or a good sermon, or be with friends. Church is not just about consuming, it’s also about serving one another. It’s about managing our gifts to bless other people within the church.

 We are called to serve in a way that glorifies God.

  • Peter tells us this in verse 11. We are to serve in a way that God is glorified.
    • This means that there is way to serve that doesn’t glorify God.
    • What is this way?
    • To serve selfishly. To serve in a way that only builds up our pride and self-worth.
    • To use service as a way to get other people to look at us in a certain way.
      • I only serve when I know someone else is watching.
      • I expect to receive praise and recognition from my service.
      • I only serve because it makes me feel good about myself.
    • To use service to try to gain favor with God and make him owe me.
      • If I serve – I feel that God must love me more then other people who don’t serve like me.
      • If I serve – I expect that God will remember that and give me something in return.
    • These are both signs that we are serving for ourselves and not for God’s glory.
  • So what does it look like to serve for God’s glory?
  • To do things with excellence… even when people aren’t watching.
    • Peter says the whoever speaks should speak as the one who speaks oracles of God.
    • If someone is teaching, he should speak as if he is representing God or speaking to God Himself. He should do it with excellence.
    • Serving for God’s glory means giving him the best – even if other people aren’t watching or we don’t get noticed.
    • If you are serving selfishly – you’ll only be motivated to do it with excellence when other people are watching or when you know you will receive recognition.
    • God gave us his best in Christ and so we respond by giving our best so that he might be glorified.
  • To recognize that we are serving by God’s strength.
    • Even as you serve other people – you are still the receiving God’s grace.
    • He is giving you the strength to serve. He is giving you the resources you need to serve.
    • In this way we depend on God and trust in him even as we serve. And when people praise us for our service we are quick to recognize that it’s only because of God that we have a desire and strength to serve.
    • Imagine someone opens a bank account in your name and places $1,000 in it. You learn that if you take that $1,000 and spend it on yourself that’s it. The money is gone and the bank account ends up being empty. But, if you spend that money to benefit other people – to give gifts to other people, to meet other people’s needs – the bank account never hits $0.00. There is always some money in it. Not because you are putting money into it, but because the person who gave you the bank account is putting money into it. There may be times where your getting close to $0.00… where your at $100 or $50 or even $5, but before that bank account hits $0.00 that person fills the account back up.
    • You begin to trust the person behind the bank account more. You begin to depend on them more. And whenever someone who you’ve given a gift or money to thanks you and praises you for it, you remember and might even mention to them that it’s really not you – it’s the person who gave you the bank account in the first place and continues to keep it filled.
  • God gives us all gifts – he places a gift in our name. He calls us not to use it for ourselves – not to hoard it and waste it – but to manage it in a way that serves other people. And he reminds us again and again that it is his strength and not ours that enables us to use that gift.
  • I want to encourage you to serve because I believe that God has gifted you to serve. I believe that God came to serve you and me in Christ so that we would go on to serve others. And I believe that God will show himself faithful and trustworthy in our lives as we serve.

So What?

  • Serve your family.
  • Serve your friends.
    • Ask yourself on a regular basis – what can I do to serve those around me?
  • Serve your school or your community.
  • Serve your church.
    • What roles are available that I can serve in? Specifically what roles line up with how God has gifted me?
  • Preview of the roles available at Keystone Church (and Keystone Youth Ministry)

Questions:

  • Do you know what your gifts are? (Youth Workers – if you see something in any of your youth – now would be a great time to point that out and draw it out)
  • What is one way that you can serve someone else this week?
  • If you are currently serving in a church, what is a role that you could start serving in?
  • What is the biggest thing that holds you back from serving?

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