1Pe 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
I was taught by my parents that if I could not say “anything good about a person then don’t say anything at all.” Based on social media posts, this seems to be a lesson that has been lost in our society. In a similar vein, the scripture says if we (the resident foreigners in this world) are going to speak then we should speak that which is godly. When the words coming out of our mouth are not in keeping with the counsel of God, we need to be still. Our speech and our lifestyle should be governed by the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. This is true whether we are dealing with believers or non-believers. We are to do good to all men (Gal 6:10), and I believe this includes what we say to people. I am not advocating that we speak words that would encourage men to sin: that is not doing good. But rather, that even if it is a rebuke, that we speak in the love of Jesus, just like He speaks to us in our hearts.
Our ministry to each other should be in the same manner as our speech. We are to serve each other according to our God-given ability. God does not teach us to serve deceitfully. He does not teach us to serve half-heartedly. He does not teach us to serve only those who are willing to serve us. We are not taught to serve only those that are like us. Jesus is our example in our life of ministry.
He ministered to lepers; people who society would not come near. He ministered to the sick, the lame, and the blind. Jesus ministered to people like Him (the Jews) and people who were nothing like Him (the Gentiles and Samaritans). His ministry was always done the same way: in truth and love! Jesus said it was not Him that did these things, but the Father in Him. Our ability to minister comes from the source that Jesus claimed. Being joint heirs with Him is not something that starts on the other side of the cemetery. God, our Heavenly Father, gives us the ability to minister, and He is not miserly in His giving. We have the ability to serve each other in the name (by the authority) of Jesus!
God has given us the ability to minister in a way that gives Him glory. Unrighteous men would tell you that God is a narcissist, but God gives us the ability because we need to do it. Have you ever had the experience of loving or admiring someone, but circumstance (social standing, fear of rejection, etc.) made it impossible for you to express it? Think about how that made you feel. What if God gave us the knowledge of His glory but never gave us the ability to glorify Him? Our ability to say and do things that give Him glory are for our joy! We know that this is acceptable to Him because it is presented in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In speaking as the oracles of God and ministering according to our God-given ability, we give Him praise and dominion without ceasing. What a glorious lot is given to us, the resident strangers, in this world!
Peter closes this verse with an “Amen. ” One of the meanings of this word is “so be it.” In Jewish custom, after a discourse or prayer was offered to God, the congregation would answer “Amen.” This signified that they were laying claim to what had been spoken. Peter was laying claim to what the Spirit was speaking to Him. It is time for us, as God’s children, to lay claim to the counsel of God in our hearts!
May we speak and do only that which gives God glory. Amen!