You can also listen to this devotion on the Family Jetpack Podcast.
Verse: Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You should use it faithfully. – 1 Peter 4:10b (NIrV)
Big Idea: God wants me to use my gifts to serve others.
What if you received a present for your birthday but had no idea how to use it? What if you didn’t even know what it was or what it was for? How would you react? Would you ask questions or just pretend like you knew what you were doing? If you didn’t ask any questions, you might end up taking this doohickey or whatchamacallit and using it in all kinds of wrong ways.
Let’s pretend for a second you had never seen a skateboard in your life, but your aunt got you one for your birthday. What if you opened it up and thought it was a car for your cat? Pretty silly, right? That would cause all kinds of confusion. Not only would your cat probably be a little upset over you pushing it around on a skateboard, you would be missing out on the fun of riding it yourself.
I know that’s a ridiculous situation, but it’s a lot like what happens when we use the gifts God gives us in wrong ways. God has given every single person talents and skills, some things we’re naturally good at and other things we learn to do as we grow. He also gives us something called spiritual gifts. Those are the special abilities God gives us when we become friends with Jesus.
Sometimes we might get confused and try to use our gifts, talents and skills to get attention for ourselves. As grown-ups we might use them to try and get rich or popular or be successful in our jobs. But that’s like trying to make your cat ride your skateboard. Sure it might work for a little while, but that’s not what the gift is for.
God gives us spiritual gifts, talents and skills to help other people and to point people back to him. We see that in the life of Joseph.
God had big dreams for Joseph, but it wasn’t to make Joseph rich or famous. His plan for Joseph was to use him to help save a bunch of lives and point people to God.
After Joseph was in prison for awhile, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had some troubling dreams. Pharaoh’s butler told him Joseph was good at helping people figure out weird dreams like that. So Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Joseph told him the dreams meant there was about to be a big shortage of food in the land, and Pharaoh put him in charge of storing up food so the people would have plenty to eat when the crops were gone.
Pharaoh made Joseph second-in-command of Egypt, and Joseph used his new job to save lives and eventually bring his family to live with him in this new land. Joseph was reunited with his father and forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done. In fact, he told them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people” (Genesis 50:20 NIrV).
Think About It
God gave you talents, skills and, if you’re following Jesus, spiritual gifts, to help others and point people back to him. So don’t use those things just for yourself. Use them to serve and do good. That was God’s big plan for Joseph, and it’s his big plan for you.
Pray About It
God, thank you for giving me talents, skills and spiritual gifts. Help me not to be selfish with them, but to use them to serve others and help people know you. Amen.
Talk About It
- What is something you love to do that you would like to get better at doing?
- What is something you’re good at that you could use to help others?
- How can you use your gifts, talents and skills to point people to God?
For Grown Ups
God created you as a one-of-a-kind masterpiece with natural talents and the ability to learn various skills throughout your life. When you begin following Jesus, he gives you spiritual gifts as well. You may not feel like you have much to offer, but verses such as Psalm 139:14 and Ephesians 2:10 clearly show us that all of us are gifted in a variety of ways by our generous and creative God.
How are you using the what you’re good at and what you love to do? Is it just for your own benefit or to serve others? How can you use your gifts, skills and talents to point people to God?