It’s that time of year where millions of dollars get spent on giving gifts to people we love, sorta like, and feel obligated to buy for. Other than the obvious excess, and wrong motivations, giving gifts is a good thing. God did and does it! He is the ultimate gift giver, but how does He want us to use gifts. I want to first make ultimate comments about God’s gifts to us. He never wants us to love the gifts more than the giver (Him). We aren’t too good at this. He gives us the gift of sight, smell, touch, and sound, and we trust what we can feel, smell, hear and see rather than living by faith. We use our intellect and the ability to reason that He gave us to trust our own judgments and place greater confidence in the flesh. We use the skills He gave us to work hard and build bigger barns for ourselves rather than live with risk-taking faith. Evaluating whether we are doing these things or not requires humility and Biblical, Spirit-filled reflection on the state of our own hearts. It requires wisdom to not live foolishly here on earth, nor to live arrogantly thinking we have what we have because of our own doing. So, regarding the gifts God has given you – talk with Him in all you do about being purposeful that every move you make would be done in the Spirit, for His glory, and not for making a name for yourself.
But how does He want us to use gifts … the gifts you’re going to get in the next few weeks? The cool ones you asked for, and really like? I’ll suggest 3 ways:
(1) Tell God It’s His – We prize ownership in our country. To own your own home is having arrived. Nothing bad about owning something, it just tends to “own” you. If something is “mine” I can get fairly disappointed or even mad when it breaks, doesn’t do what I want, or someone misuses it. When I give that gift to God, I’ll use it and enjoy it as a good steward of the King. No, God doesn’t need your ipad or new pair of shoes, but He does want you to think of even those things as delightful tools of worship. So start by releasing the stranglehold on stuff you get by a simple prayer of dedication to Him.
(2) Enjoy it Without Obsessing – We teach our kids to take care of stuff, keep it clean, organized, maintained. If it’s God’s stuff, than you should value what you have as on loan to you. Don’t obsess over it, and please don’t create a shrine for it, but take good care of it. Enjoy wearing that new clothing item, and using that new gadget with a heart that is grateful to God for the way He has made life nicer or more efficient. Now you can focus on Him and His Kingdom without having to keep a paper-calendar (do people still do that?), wear the same clothes for three straight weeks, or send messages by horseback.
(3) Bless Others With It – The surest sign that you aren’t using your gifts well is hoarding, or not sharing. If it’s God’s, and you aren’t worshipping it, then figure out how that gift you have can bless others. Can it help make someone else’s life sweeter? Can you share it with someone who would never be able to enjoy it? Are you willing to part with it? I suppose this takes us right back to where we started – you were given something … are you willing to give it away? Isn’t this the Gospel principle of mission? You were given the great gift of grace in salvation not to keep it to yourself, but to share with others so they too might know God’s love. Maybe we should think about how that gets practiced with all the “stuff” we have. What a great gift we have. Enjoy Christ so you can enjoy everything you have as an act of worship!
Thank you God for your indescribable gift,