By Teresa A. LeNeave
It was Christmas morning and all I had under the Christmas tree was one package the size of a large book. In fact, I was sure it was a book. I loved reading so I was okay with that, but have to admit I expected more than a book from my husband! Everyone opened their many presents and then I was handed mine.
You can imagine my surprise when I opened it only to discover it was a dictionary! I smiled and tried to act grateful, but I was quite disappointed when I finally said, "Thank you."
"Open it to the first page," he said.
There was notes inside telling me to go to certain words in the dictionary. The first was a "T". At the "T", I was instructed to go to another page. That page had a sticky note under the word "trip", and instructions to go to a second page. That page had a sticky note under the word money with instructions to turn the page where I found $1000 and another note. The note said to go to another page where the word "Florida" was highlighted.
By now, I was feeling pretty guilty for my previous disappointment. At the highlighted word "Florida", I was instructed to go to yet another page where I found two plane tickets and a fifth note. There, at the final page, I found an itinerary and brochure for an upscale resort in Palm Beach, Florida, with a note saying he "hoped I would enjoy a week on the beach".
I'm reminded of little kids getting gifts on their birthday or Christmas. They are so excited to be getting a gift. We all love gifts. No matter how old we are, gifts are fun to get.
God knew that when he said he was sending us the "gift" of the Holy Spirit who would go with us; strengthen us and empower us throughout our lives.
He also said he gave us "spiritual gifts", which gifts are given for the edification (building up and establishing of Christ followers). Ephesians 4: 11, 12 and I Cor. 12: 7-14.
The Bible says it is God, not us, who chooses the gifts (1 Corinthians 12:28-31 and 1 Corinthians 14:12-13). God knows what gift we need in the sphere we live in and he knows life will lead us to certain places where those gifts will be necessary. Gifts are distributed according to God's choosing because we may want a gift that we never have an opportunity to use. God gives gifts so that every function of the body is useful.
Paul tells the Corinthian believers, "If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose (I Cor. 12: 17-18). The way I understand it, God gives gifts where he chooses for the benefit of the church body. He knows what is needed to make the body efficient; serving all the functions of the body, causing it to work properly.
There are many gifts listed in the Bible and we are called upon to develop the ones we have. They include, not only the well-known nine gifts of wisdom, faith, working of miracles, knowledge, healing, prophecy, various kinds of languages, interpretation of languages and discernment, but he also gives (and expects us to use) spiritual gifts of hospitality, exhortation, acts of mercy, generosity, and leadership (Romans 12:6-8).
Are you using the gifts God has given you? Are you telling people what God has done in your life? 2 Timothy 1:6 said we sometimes need to "Stir up the gift", fan the flame, by having the elders pray for us.
We are all called, gifted, to evangelize and tell the Good News of the gospel. Just tell your story. What has God done for you? What changed when you gave your life to Christ? Tell it. People want to know. Use your gifts where God has planted you.