It appears that we have come to another 'ending' in Peter's first letter, but after verse eleven, Peter finds that he has still more to say and perhaps the space and time with which to say it! The original letter would have been written on papyrus or parchment and formed into a scroll. The use of space would have been similar to the way some people used to use space on a postcard. I had a wonderful aunt whose postcards were absolutely full of almost illegible writing, words crammed in around the address, it was a wonder that they even arrived at the right house. Peter declares here that every single believer has a gift from God to use to bless others. Peter only gives two examples-the gift of public (or private, one-to-one?) speaking and the gift of helping others. Now this can come in many and various forms. I have known lovely Christian men and women whose one desire is to be in the kitchen at church socials, preparing food, making cups of tea and washing up afterwards. When I was a young Christian I used to be slightly sneery about their gifts, until one church social when those two or three gifted people weren't there and it was chaos! One of the many things I've always loved about Bearfield is that everyone gets stuck in and everything is put back in order after a church meal very quickly! It doesn't happen everywhere!
The gift of encouragement is a great gift. Barnabas, who went on missions with Paul and then Mark, was nicknamed 'the son of encouragement'. What a great title to seek to attain! When I first began preaching, I quickly learned to avoid certain people after the service, who I think were trying to be helpful in their criticisms, but someone just starting off in preaching does not need to listen to negative remarks at that point. But in our church there was a man who was always encouraging. Sometimes I used to play a little game with him to test whether he was just going through the motions, but he could always think of some positives which he had observed. I think we can all encourage, seek to build others up.