The Proper Use of All Our Gifts – J. Calvin

The proper use, then, of all the good gifts we have received is the free and generous sharing of those gifts with others. No more certain principle nor more effective exhortation for keeping that rule is imaginable than this: Scripture teaches us that all the gifts we utilize are given to us by God. And they are given along with this law of our faith – that they be put to use for the good of our neighbors.

But Scripture goes even further than this when it compares us and the gifts we’ve been given to the members of a human body. No member of the body exits to serve itself, nor does each member exist merely for its own private use. Rather, it puts its abilities to use for the other members of the body. Nor does any member of the body alone receive any advantage from itself outside of that which belongs to the entire body. Whatever, therefore, a godly man is able to do, he should do it for his brothers. He should consider his own interests only insofar as he sets his mind on the general edification of the whole church.

Let this, then, be our rule for kindness and benevolence: We are merely stewards of whatever gifts God has given us in order to help our neighbors. We must give an account of our stewardship, and right stewardship is that which is fueled by the rule of love. Consequently, we must not merely join zeal for the good of others with concern for our own well-being, but we must submit concern for our own well-being to the good of others.

Little-book-christian-life-calvinTaken from the fresh translation and edition of John Calvin’s short work on the Christian life,  A Little Book on the Christian Life (Reformation Trust, 2017). This is taken from the end of chapter 2, “Self-Denial in the Christian Life”, pp.36-38.

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