We can't really take credit for them, and it's no good to be jealous of what others have.
I'm talking about talents that we're born with.
Some of us are naturally talented with a singing or artistic ability or are good with numbers or have a green thumb for gardening.
Then, when we come to Christ at salvation, God says He gives "spiritual gifts" to us. These are to be used to encourage and serve other belivers as part of the big body of Christ.
Maybe you've taken spiritual gifts surveys and have an idea if you are more gifted in Serving Others, Teaching, Mercy, Administration... and that's good to know so you can focus there.
But, we don't want to get hung up on labels of gifts, either natural talent or spiritual gifting. Or even the gifts of certain strengths of personality types.
We need to recognize the gift of opportunity of the present time.
The NOW in front of us.
Of using what we have to help. Exodus 4:2 shows that God can use anything to accomplish His goals, we just have to be willing to let Him work through us. And, of course, listen to His instructions and not be too cowardly to act.
There are several verses in the Bible that God gives us so we know that He desires our obedience, love, mercy, and close relationship in prayer with Him rather than sacrifices and giving to Him out of ritual or obligation.
This passage from Paul in Romans talks about what God actually wants from us, and it also discusses the Spiritual Gifts that we have been given. Click to read Romans 12:1-13
Our relationship with the Lord needs to be close, and in continual prayer. Asking God if the opportunity that just popped up is something He wants us to step into... or not! Like the story of the Good Samaritan shows us, when someone in front of us needs help, we are certainly supposed to do what we can for them.
And Galations 6:10 says "...and let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
That is for us Christians then, to be super-quick to help out a friend in the church body.
What's another way we can give our best Gifts to Jesus?
Through directing PRAISE to Him!
Hebrews 13:15-16 "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
But how do we fit in all this "doing good" and constant praise into our crazy holiday schedule???
NOT by our strength. Not by being superwoman who thinks she needs to say Yes to everything. Instead...
- By being sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit when he nudges us to say or do something.
- By bringing our day to the Lord and asking Him to simplify & prioritize what is coming our way.
- By presenting our body to the Lord. Being where He wants us, doing as He leads.
- By filling our home and car with praise music to keep our thoughts focused on good things, and our hearts toward Christ.
- By remembering the Proverbs 31 woman uses kind words. And in turn, that softness defeats anger - in ourselves and others.
- By really looking at those around our dinner table, at work, and in our front yard and really seeing and listening to them.
- By having blinders on to those around us who might criticize HOW we are using our gifts. Mary, as she poured out the expensive ointment on Jesus, was demeaned and told she could be using that gift another way. But Jesus was pleased with her choice. We can't listen to the haters. We need to use our gifts and talents as our Lord has laid on OUR HEART to do.
Let's put ourselves in this picture that's painted, in Jesus' words. Matthew 25 starting in verse 34. He is showing us a glimpse of the future, when we get to heaven and the King welcomes His children to "inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye have me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came to me.
"Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
and here's the punchline now..."And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
I imagine we can all think of people in our direct circle that would fall in the category "the least of these." No-names of minor significance in society, special needs children and adults, people who are barely hanging on by a tiny thread of faith, older adults in a nursing home.
God sees as we give our best gifts to Jesus by helping the least of these. In His strength, giving Him the glory, and singing praise songs to strengthen us as we give.
We have to get ourselves out of the way, let go of our ego and uncertainties, and let Him work and speak through us. In our own strength, we cannot give our best gifts.
Psalm 18 starts out "I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust..."
To be walking in the will of God, we need to put our gifts under God's authority and timing. We acknowledge the power to exercise the gifts is from Him. Even the ability to have any gifts at all is from Him. He gave us any capacity to do anything!
James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above..."
So, what about you???
Is the Holy Spirit whispering to you that the way you use your gifts of time, money, hospitality, or talents needs adjustment?
The bottom line is that ANY time of the year, we cannot do it all. So, as our lives get squeezed and we become pressured and short-fuzed with Black Friday sales, work parties, family expectations, cooking & cleaning, buying & wrapping for Christmas...
Let's practice now, every day, to re-center our thoughts and direction.
To ask God how He wants us to give to others and give to Him in our every day. Instead of asking for world peace, which cannot come until Jesus returns, we can daily ask for more peace about what and who is in front of us TODAY. Peace that is beyond our understanding. Peace knowing that God is with us and truly cares about the little things in our lives.
Dear Lord, thank you for all these verses (and so many more) in the Bible that you have given us to understand how You want us to give back to you. To give our BEST gifts to Jesus. It involves others, Lord, as your life on earth did 2,000 years ago. Please give us the strength it takes to love the unlovely and the courage to praise You in this fallen world. We love you Lord, and look forward to the day that You open the doors of Heaven and welcome us! Thank you, in Jesus' name. Amen.