God’s Gifts are Not For You

By Marcia Lee Laycock
“Did you have a good Christmas? What did you get?”
Those two sentences seem to go hand in hand. I used to hear them a
lot in times past, as people chatted with my kids. The girls always gave the
same answer, naming a couple of their favorite gifts. As I listened to the
exchange, I chuckled to myself. There were a couple of presents given one year
that were not really intended for the recipient. One of the girls gave “the
family” a large perfumed candle. “To go in the bathroom,” she said, grinning.
The rest of us grinned back – we all knew who spent hours in the tub.
You’ve probably been given one or two gifts of that sort at some
point, if not at Christmas, perhaps for your birthday. Many wives have received
such “useful” presents – a set of pots and pans; a blender; an iron. I remember
one my husband gave me many years ago. We were building a house at the time so
I suppose it was a practical gift, but a shiny new Spalding saw was not what I
had envisioned for my birthday! He grinned a lot when he gave it to me, like my
daughter did when we unwrapped that candle. I knew who was going to do the
sawing.
Like that candle and that saw, God’s gifts are not just intended for
the recipient. He intends to use them Himself. It is up to us to put hands and
feet to those intentions by serving others. The prophet Isaiah new this when he
said – “The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word
that sustains the weary.” (Isaiah 50:4) The writer of 1 Corinthians also knew
the principle well. He stresses that the gifts God gives are intended, not for
the benefit or honor of those employing them, but for the “strengthening of the
church.”(1Cor.14:26) The apostle Peter makes this clear when he says – “Each
one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully
administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
God’s gifts are intended for others, but we also benefit when we use
what we have been given, both spiritual gifts and natural talents, to that end.
There is no greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction than that which comes
when we have used what we have been given to strengthen others. Whether it is
in providing a meal on Christmas day for those in need, teaching Mathematics in
grade 2, providing efficient secretarial skills in an office, digging a ditch
for a sewer line or a post hole for a fence to keep the cows in, preaching a
sermon on Sunday morning or writing a novel that touches the hearts of its
readers; if you are using the gifts God gave you, you will be blessed.
So. Did you have a good Christmas? What did you get?
****

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta
Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She
was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel,
One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been
endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website