Today’s reading was 1 Peter 4:7-11:
7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, 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.
At first glance it appears that Peter expected the imminent return of Christ, and that these instructions are given in the light of that expectation. However, even if he was mistaken, the advice given is sound, and holds true even for today when we are so much closer to the return of the Lord.
It’s interesting that the reason for alertness and a sober mind is that you may be properly prepared to pray. We’ve probably all had the experience of trying to pray when we are tired, and we know how unsuccessful that is. To be in a state of alertness and awareness of what is going on around us is a much better preparation for prayer.
Verse 8 acknowledges the fact that there will be a multitude of sins. We will sin against one another, rub one another the wrong way and offend one another, but love is able to absorb this. I think it is our natural, sinful inclination to dwell upon the hurts that we have received from others, but love is a healing balm and allows us to overlook each other’s faults.
Verse 10 implies an incredible privilege and responsibility. When we use our gifts appropriately we are actually able to administer God’s grace to others. We are grace-givers. And in our speaking, we should be conscious of the fact that the way we speak can communicate something of God’s grace. Our words may be heavier than we realized.
And when we serve, it is with a consciousness of God’s strength providing the energy, so that we do not praise ourselves or think anything we achieve is purely down to us. We acknowledge the source. In the Old Testament, King Nebuchadnezzar refused to acknowledge that God was the source of his riches and his victories, and God allowed him to descend into madness until he learned that lesson.
The result of all this is that God may be praised, not us. So as you speak today, as you work today, be aware that your words and your work can administer grace and point people towards God. To God be the glory!