Football season is just around the corner and that excites many people around the country, while others really could not care less. Regardless of your opinion on the sport, I think everyone can agree that it is not a passive, peaceful game. At the risk of alienating a portion of you by continuing with the football analogy, I’m going to use a specific aspect of the sport to paint a picture of an important spiritual truth. Bear with me, it will be worth it.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” I’ve read this verse many times and assumed it was talking about natural talents and abilities we are each born with that we should use to do good. It wasn’t until I started digging into the original Greek that I discovered something that changed my perspective on this verse. Two words from this verse, when seen through the lens of their Greek definitions, are eye opening. They are “gift” and “received”.
The Greek word for “received” is λαμβάνω (lambanó). It literally means to lay hold of by aggressively accepting what is made available. This is where my football analogy comes in. When a receiver runs a pass pattern and the quarterback throws him the ball, he is taught to aggressively go after the football while it is in the air. There is at least one defender on the field who is intent on getting to that pass before the receiver does, and will do anything within his power to prevent the reception. When the ball is in the air, it is up for grabs. The receiver is responsible to aggressively go after the ball and beat the defender to it. A receiver who passively waits for the ball to arrive will seldom make the catch.
The word “gift” in Greek is χάρισμα (charisma) which is the operation of divine favor or grace. The picture in 1 Peter 4:10 is not natural talents that we are born with and use for God. Peter is not talking about a trait you just have. Peter is describing favor made available in a specific area. When this happens, it is up to us to aggressively go and get it. If God is leading you to write a song, start a business, minister oversees, or anything else, His leading is an offer of divine favor. Once that grace is made available, it is just like the quarterback putting the ball in the air. At that point, it is up to you to go get it. There is an enemy who wants to stop you and deflect God’s plan. Don’t let him.
You can’t accomplish what God wants on your own, nor can you initiate the transaction or pick what area in which His favor is extended. What you can do is choose to go and get it when a grace is made available.