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Unopened Gifts

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10

Every Christmas, my Papaw Clark, who seemed to me as a youngster to be ancient and a little curmudgeonly, would join us at our Grandpa & Grandma Chambers home for the holiday celebration. When Papaw received his gift, he would tear a tiny corner, looking inside and saying, "It's another shirt, isn't it?" and then set it aside. He did this predictably each year. Family lore is that when they cleared out Papaw's house, there was a dresser drawer full of shirts still in the wrapping. 

I wonder if sometimes we're like Papaw Clark. God gives us some great gifts, and we never open them up. We assume that God is just giving us more of the same and aren't particularly impressed or even grateful. We don't know for sure what the package contains. Even if it is only "another shirt," what if it's not flannel (Papaw always wore flannel, even in the heat of Indiana July)? Instead, what if it's something totally different than anything in our closet? It could be a beautifully fitted button-down Oxford cloth shirt in a color, a brilliant red we've never worn before. What if it's not a shirt at all but something else entirely?

The author goes on to say, "Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 4:11)

Whatever gift God has given us, let's not simply take a peek in the package but open it wide. Sure, it may be another shirt, but it's a gift from God. He doesn't want us to stick it in a drawer but use it. Or, maybe God is giving us something new, but how will we know unless we rip off the paper and reveal what's inside?

Whether it's more of the same or a new thing never experienced, we thank God for all His gifts–he only gives good things. Use that gift! Think of how we feel when we see someone wearing what we've given them. Should we expect anything less from God? Whatever He has given, let us wear it unabashedly to the glory of God. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts You have bestowed upon us. As we reflect on today's scriptures, we are reminded that we have received special abilities from You. May we use these gifts to serve others, being a good steward of Your multifaceted grace. When we speak, may our words be guided by Your wisdom, as if we were speaking actual words of God. When we serve, may we draw strength from You, recognizing that Your power enables us to make a difference. Lord Jesus, may everything we do bring glory to You. May our actions and words point others to Your love and grace. To You belongs all glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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