On of my favorite books in the Bible is 1 Peter. I think I find myself relating most to him in Scripture, so I have a special affinity for his writings. Peter was impulsive, often spoke before he thought, was willing to step out, was often wrong and occasionally made things worse with the best of intentions. That’s my kinda guy!
Years ago I memorized 1 Peter 4:7-11, and it has become a passage that has guided my life. In part, because it’s so stinkin’ simple and practical. In part, it resonates with the kind of person I want to be. In many ways, it’s the heart of what an Overboard Life should look like. I would even go so far as to say that if you obeyed these four commands every day, you would truly be living life Overboard!
1 Peter 4:7-11: Four things to do every day
“The end of all things is near, therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7)
Take time each day to connect with God in prayer. Pray for your family, your friends, your church and your pastor. Pray for God to help you see the God-moments of each day and pray for the grace to give to others in need. Pray and thank God for who He is, praise Him for His past goodness in your life, and praise Him for what He will do in the future. Make sure you’ve confessed your sin to Him and found His forgiveness and then work to keep the phone line between you and Him open -- pray throughout your day!
“And above all, love each other deeply, for love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
I always marvel that when Jesus was leaving His disciples He told them this basic truth: the way people will know you belong to me is by how you love each other. Of all the traits God could have picked, he chose the issue of our brotherly love to be the marker that declares our allegiance to Him. Not our evangelism. Not our acts of service to the poor. Not the way we provide for our families, take care of our kids or parents, not the way we feed the needy, volunteer at the hospital or visit prisoners (all of which God has commanded us to do). No, the one mark that He said should distinguish us from others is our love. Love allows us to be a kind and forgiving to people, eager and ready to serve. Take time to intentionally show love to the people in your life. Choose forgiveness when it would be easier to be hurt or hold a grudge. Lavish love on someone every day and watch how you are affected by it.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9)
While the New Testament understanding of hospitality might be vastly different than ours today, the principle remains the same: be generous with the resources you have. Resources that could include food, money, clothing, shelter, transportation, time etc… In New Testament times, it wasn’t uncommon for a member of one church to come visit a town unannounced. That visitor may or may not know anyone in the town, but they could quickly find the Christians that gathered there, and they would have an immediate need for hospitality. Peter was reminding believers that sharing our resources is not only “nice”, it’s commanded and so is the spirit in which we are to do it -- “without grumbling.” In other words, happily share what you have! Take time each day to joyfully share your resources with others. What would it look like if you intentionally sought out opportunities to bless others with your time, or money, or house, or food or…??
“Each one should use whatever gifts he has to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
God has blessed each of us with talents, abilities and gifts that are to be used, not primarily for ourselves. He has gifted us that we might use those gifts in service to others. This flies in the face of mainstream culture which speaks so much about advancing yourself for your sake, or for getting everything you can out of what you have to offer. No, there’s nothing inherently wrong advancing in work or politics or society and there’s nothing wrong from benefitting financially (or in other ways) from your gifts. Peter is talking about a base motivation -- serving for gain vs serving for the benefit of others. I have a good friend who has a number of very profitable businesses. He has grown them by using his gifts, and he has been a very faithful administrator of God’s grace serving others. He has kept the service of others as the priority of his business, while still practicing good business. What would it look like for you to seek out ways to serve others, using your God-given gifts and abilities? What if, every day, you looked for at least one opportunity to bless someone else with a self-less act of service?
Living the Overboard Life is ultimately choosing to live in obedience with God’s Word. Peter gives us four practical ways to live Overboard every day. Will you seek to apply these four commands in your life today? Tomorrow?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!
Check out the Overboard resources available to help you live the Overboard Life. Visit our online store at www.bookstore.overboardministries.com!