“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” I Corinthians 13:1
Hello, dear Soul Sisters! I’m Debbie Burns and have the privilege of sharing the lesson for Day 20 with you. Today we shift our focus to Gifts, our unique God-given Gifts. How do you identify those Gifts? Those times on our arrows when we felt most fully satisfied, those can point to our gifts (page 132).
Please read pages 132-135 in Made for This.
Let’s explore Threads of Gifts together. It starts with identifying them. Close your eyes. Recall times when you felt fully and completely satisfied—when you felt happy right down to your toes. Did you think of one or two? Those are YOUR Gifts. It’s OK if they aren’t like anybody else’s Gifts. They’re YOURS! To hide our Gifts, or to deny them, or to compare and wish them away is not only taking from yourself but also taking from God, His Church, and a world that need to see the expression of God that He designed you to bring (page 133).
Baking chocolate chip cookies with generous doses of love is a passion of mine. It indeed makes me happy right down to my toes to bake them for others. Too simple? Nope! Not to God, because He put that super simple Gift in me. Well, how in the world could baking chocolate chip cookies ever be something God uses you might wonder. Let me tell you.
I started baking chocolate chip cookies when I was so little that I had to stand on a step stool to reach the mixer, so I’ve had this Gift for a while. My motive was always to share love, let people know they mattered to me, let people know they were noticed or appreciated, let people know they were valued and remembered. If even one person felt the love of God from eating a chocolate chip cookie, well Praise the Lord! But God had something wonderful in His plan. After Hurricane Katrina when so many suffered devastating losses, I felt quite simply to bake chocolate chip cookies to show God’s love to hurting people. It was done quite simply, but truly with love. I put a few cookies in a baggie, added a note with a smiley face reminding the reader that Jesus loved him/her, a Bible verse about the joy of the Lord being our strength, and our name and phone number in case they wanted to talk or needed prayer. That’s it. I prayed over each baggie. My hubby and sons took them to people standing in lines. That was it-simple obedience in using my very simple God-given Gift.
Guess what?! One night we came home to find a message on our old-fashioned land line phone. It was garbled at first so we couldn’t make out who the man speaking was. This was the gist of his message. He’d lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. He drove to New Orleans and checked in a hotel to commit suicide. On the way to his hotel room he spotted a baggie on the floor with a happy face note. There were a few cookie crumbs in the bag but the cookies were gone. What the note said caught his attention. He said that he had forgotten that Jesus loved him. He had gone to Sunday School as a boy, but that was a long time ago. When he read the verse about the joy of the Lord being his strength, he decided not to commit suicide but to get to know Jesus again. And he wanted to thank me for saving his life by baking cookies and putting a note in a baggie that made its way (by Divine appointment) all the way from Biloxi where we handed them out to that hotel room in New Orleans. Now do you see what an impact using a God-given Gift can make?
Gifts are things you feel passionately about, things that make you feel fulfilled and fully satisfied. …but our Gifts’ primary purpose is building up others (page 135). Gifts should be given with open hands and open hearts with love, God’s love, passionately and obediently.
Sometimes we have to endure waiting and hardship in order to be ready to use our God-given Gifts. Joseph certainly did! He was sold into slavery by his brothers, imprisoned, and separated from his family and his home. He waited twenty years to see the vision of his brothers bowing down to him fulfilled. It was fulfilled. God was working in the waiting. It can be the same for us. Don’t get weary in the waiting. Don’t worry that God has forgotten you in the waiting. There is a purpose. There is a reason God gives us gifts (page 134).
Don’t be afraid to use YOUR Gifts! Receive the Gift. Open the Gift. Explore the Gift. Use the Gift. Why? To bring God glory! To build up others!
God’s Gifts make us feel:
Review. Reflect. Respond on pages 136-137 in Made for This.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” II Corinthians 9:15
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the unique Gifts you have given each of us. Replace any fear in stepping out to use those Gifts for your glory with passionate desire. Keep our motives pure, our hearts clean, and our spirits right. If we are waiting, help us be confident that You are working. As we step out and use our Gifts, please live through us, love through us, touch through us, reach through us. Hear through us, see through us, speak through us, be through us. Amen