We are collectors. Antiques. Baseball cards (people still do that, right?). Ornaments. Shoes. Legos. Dolls. Pens. Books. (Those last two are just so you know I’m included.) We do it for fun, For a hobby. Because the objects please us, entertain us, give a sense of accomplishment or have sentimental value.
Our collections can be conversation starters. (Admittedly they can be conversation stoppers with the uninitiated.) They can open up doors to new relationships and new friendships. Managing our collections often means rearranging our stuff so we can store or display them. Sometimes, it means travel so we can add to them. Let’s face it, we put a lot of time, energy, and often money, into our collections. Obtaining. Keeping. Maintaining.
However, that collecting mentality should not apply to the gifts of God. In context, 1 Peter 4:10 specifically deals with the spiritual gifts God gives each individual believer to equip them for service in His kingdom. However, I don’t think it’s too far out of line to consider everything we receive from God in this.
The key word is “stewards.” It means one who uses and manages what God gives for His glory and for the growth of His kingdom. The blessings, the talents, the lessons, the resources, the comfort, and the insights God pours out to us aren’t meant to be collected, but rather dispensed.
What we receive isn’t meant to be ours exclusively. Instead, God entrusts it to us to manage it, and to use it for His kingdom. That is an amazing trust and responsibility.
Let me give you an example of how it works. One of the big challenges of my adult life has been working through depression. God has come alongside and taught me a great deal about His love for me, and how my brain sometimes twists that truth around. If I am only a collector, then I keep those lessons to myself, and I wait for more. If I’m a steward, I’ll share what I’ve learned with someone going through a similar struggle. (Or maybe put the lessons in some character’s mouth sometime.)
God intends for believers to be a community, and this idea of stewardship over what we receive helps us build it. If we develop a habit of looking around and asking, “Who needs what I have?”rather than “What am I lacking?” it will change not only how we view others but it will impact those relationships in a way that bonds us and ultimately glorifies God.
And glorifying God is our primary purpose.