by Kimberly Penix
When I was growing up, my dad was the hardest person to buy gifts for. He didn’t have any hobbies or interests that we could use as a good “go-to” gift starting point. He liked John Wayne movies, but after we had purchased a set of DVDs we couldn’t really take that much farther. He loved chocolate-covered cherries, but giving him $5 worth of candy just didn’t seem enough.
I tried all sorts of gifts through the years. Each one would be kept in the tissue paper it had been wrapped in and neatly put in his dresser drawers.
A child during the Depression, my dad had the mentality that you didn’t replace an item until it was actually broken or worn out.
After he passed away in 2010, my mom was looking through his drawers and found some of the gifts I had given him throughout the years. She asked if I wanted to have them as a reminder of my daddy.
It might seem a little shocking to some, but my answer was no. The items I had given to him, that he never used, didn’t hold any sentimental value for me. I didn’t want them back. They weren’t for me, they were for him.
They were simply unused gifts.
I wonder how God feels when we don’t use the spiritual gifts He’s given to us. We all have them. He chose them specially for each of us, before we were even conceived. The Almighty Creator took time to think of each of us individually. He had you on His mind. He knew what journey you’d be on and the different life events you’d experience, and He gifted you with talents and abilities necessary to live the best life possible. He gave you those gifts to use, to have available as you serve Him, serve others and enjoy life on this wonderful planet.
Just so you don’t think I’m cold-hearted or unsentimental, I did take an item of my dad’s that I will always cherish. I have the leather belt he wore to work every day. It’s worn, scratched and splattered with paint and it makes me tear up every time I hold it. Why? Because he used it. He wore it each day as he went to the steel factory where he worked to provide for me. He had it on when he came home from his afternoon shift and read the notes I left under a magnet on our stove hood, telling him about my day, since I was already in bed. He wore it around the house when he worked on projects. It was his everyday work belt.
My dad’s belt is special to me because he used it. He had other belts that he wore to church on Sunday and special occasions, but those were just for show. The real work was done with the worn brown leather around his waist.
God doesn’t want us to keep our spiritual gifts on a shelf and only take one or two down on special occasions. This life is a special occasion. We only get one. Isn’t that special enough? Isn’t that worth pulling out all the stops and making full use of every gift, talent, and trait He so lovingly gave us?
Take a few minutes alone today and think about what gifts you’ve been given. Don’t tell me you don’t have any, because that just isn’t true. Start with a list of qualities you already possess. Think about something that you may get compliments on: singing, organizing events, showing compassion, decorating, managing people. Go ahead and write those down. Look at them from time to time; add new things as God reveals them to you, but decide to start using them today. By using them, they turn into gifts we give back to Him. Don’t leave them shelved any longer!
I Peter 4:10: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (ESV)
What gift do you have to use for the Lord? I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments!
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