Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Gift You've Been Given

I haven't been writing much lately. The school year does that to me. :)
Some of my other thoughts are over here, as those musings relate to one of my other "hats" - fitness coaching: http://www.teambeachbody.com/cheriejohnson
**Look on the right-hand side to find my blog posts.**

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Let us love the gifts God has given us.

I am inspired by a verse that my exquisitely talented and loving friend Elizabeth shared today.

1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."

Let's break that down.

1) Each of you - Ok, so that's ALL OF US, not just some: EACH. All. You. Me. None of us are excluded in this verse. Hallelujah!

2) Should use - We are given something useful! Amen! But what?

3) Whatever gift you have received - Notice it does not say "if you have received a gift." The verse clearly states that we have all received a gift (or gifts). What a generous God to give us gifts that we can use on this earth! That means we each have something to be proud of, something to help us grow, something to brighten the world.

4) To serve others - This gift us not for us to hide. It is to "let us shine"!
Just now, as I was writing this, I stopped my 7th graders from reading and asked them each to identify a gift they had that could be used to help others.
Their answers were filled with uncertainty: "I don't have a gift, I don't think."
Their answers were filled with pride: "I'm pretty good at video games!" (To which, of course, I asked them how that could better the world, and the answers changed!)
Their answers revealed that they were soul searching:
"I guess I am pretty kind to others."
"I'm generous."
"I'm a good entertainer."
"I like to make people laugh."

5) As faithful stewards of God's grace - May we be faithful, relentless, tireless in using our gifts.
Dictionary.com defines a steward as "a person who manages another's property or financial affairs..." We are managing God's grace!!! That means we use our gifts to manage God's property - grace, or His financial affairs - metaphorically, the riches of being found in His love and mercy!

6) In its various forms - God's grace takes on various forms, and those various forms are the variety of gifts He's given to us. My gift is probably different than yours, and this is a beautiful thing! A wondrous thing! A blessing! Because the brother or sister who may not be reached by my gift can be reached by another's gift. He or she may not care about running or fitness like I do, but perhaps his or or her passion is art. Someone else can speak to that person with the gift of art; where I could not reach, you can.

During the Christmas season, may we dwell more on our spiritual gifts than ever before. Remember Jesus, the Giver of eternal life - the Generous One, the Humble One, the Servant Heart and Mighty King.

Finally, let us LOVE the gifts God has given us! Let us rejoice that He gave us our passions, our unique talents! Instead of being envious of another's gift, let's offer ours up to Christ, allowing Him to move in us to shine ever-so-brightly to others.

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Praise God for the gift of His Son!