February 2014 ~ Manifesting Blessings 2: Gifts in Action
Let’s face it, not every gift is something we want. We may smile when we initially receive the object, but we may hide it away in a corner. Perhaps, we later re-gift so that it finds a home elsewhere (in secret, of course, so that the giver has no knowledge of our deeds). Some see having a unlikable a present as a nuisance; but what we are really saying when we do not want a gift is that we cannot foresee how the item can be used effectively in our current lifestyle.
Think about it. If the present is one we greatly appreciate, we run immediately and make use of it or make a plan to on a specific occasion. If it is food, it is cooked. A book – read. Jewelry – worn. A car – driven. But what if we receive a garden shovel and live in a condo with only concrete surrounding? Or better yet, we are shy introverts and learn our spiritual gift is “Hospitality”? Suddenly, that same flutter we felt in January’s post resonates somewhere closer to the opposite end of the spectrum around dread, distain or, sometimes, outright disgust. The reaction then, post the moment of receipt, tends to be a tantrum, rebellion even, to that which we are expected to cherish.
Consider, then, our emotions when we are the recipients of spiritual gifts of which we are not so fond. How can one really tell God, “No, I think those Prophetic dreams are meant for someone else”? The various Tongues could absolutely speak from the floorboards and rocks, but yet we have to make use of them and translate in full, public fellowship? As if being a leader weren’t hard enough! However, it could be seen as ungrateful, as did the master in the Parable of the Talents, particularly if we do not take time to think of gifts in context. We would be no better than if we judged the present based on the wrapping, as if we never opened it at all.
After welcoming the gift of being the Messiah, Jesus immediately went into the wilderness to be tempted. While he went willingly, there is no indication that states that he wanted to go, only that it was Jesus’ responsibility, a stipulation of accepting the gifts. Moreover, it is an expression of agape, the first outward example of living for others, by leaving all places of comfort – family, friends, current school, job, baseball team – to expand the gift for the benefit of those from whom he distanced himself.
Perhaps we should take time to go to the corner and dig out that unwanted gift, sit with it and God to see the possibilities in shaping our new lifestyle. As written in 1 Peter 4:10, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received”. Let us take work to praise the Lord with every gift, as we are called according to God’s purpose.
Amina S. McIntyre is a Creative Worship Artist who writes and performs for the glory of God. She is the current Pastor of St. Lewis CME Church in Sparta, GA and keeps a blog at www.peaceandpraise.blogspot.com.