7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:7-11
“He must become greater; I must become less.”
Do you recall whose words those are? They were said by a man to whom God gave an amazing gift. A man who served not to be seen or to be popular or to have followers of his own. A man chosen to point to Jesus and prepare people’s hearts for their Savior. When he did, however, disputes arose. Folks became jealous for this man’s popularity instead of Jesus’. So this man, John the baptizer, replied, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I’ve been sent ahead of Him.’ He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:27-30)
This is the mark of a spiritual leader: one who wishes to use what God has given him to bring glory to God alone. Period. John was not jealous of the attention Jesus received. He was ecstatic! It was his life’s ministry and purpose to make much of our Messiah!
In today’s passage, we see the same heart flowing from the words of Peter. He sums up the truth that since we are living in the end days (the days between Jesus’ death and His second coming), we are to be focused in prayer, loving others deeply, and using our particular given gifts of hospitality, serving, speaking, helping, etc., with God’s strength! He ends this paragraph of his letter with “so that…” So what? “So that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” As we are using our gifts for others, ultimately we are using them to make much of God!
Making much of God is what it means to be a “good steward of the varied grace of God” (vs. 10). A spiritual person, one who is a leader in God’s eyes, is one who is a faithful, good steward of His grace, making much of God in everything they do. When accolades are given to him, he accepts them only to turn them back in praise of the One who graciously gave them! A true spiritual leader says in all things, “God must become greater; I must become less.”
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do I do things to have more followers of my own…to have more “likes” on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, or more mentions in my social circle? If I got really real with myself about the motives behind my actions, would they be to make more of God or more of myself?
- Do I get puffed up with pride when I’m applauded, or do I make every effort to turn the accolades around and back up to God?
- Am I living to be a leader by making a great name for myself? Or am I living to make great the Name of Jesus Christ and God my Father, which in turn results in me being a great leader?
Make a family calendar for the rest of the month. What activities or events is everyone looking forward to? Are there any activities or events that specifically are glorifying to God? Today’s scripture talks about making ourselves “less” so God can become “more”. Challenge your family to put some events on the calendar that are specially meant to glorify God: serving community, visit and love on elderly neighbors or a family who is in need, or attend an extra worship service. When we are intentional about making time for God, we make Him more important than our own schedule.
Pray that God will strengthen people in our church family that He is leading toward full time cross-cultural missions. Pray for courage and joy in their lives to answer and a willingness to sacrifice in order to obey.