Leftover Gifts   Leave a comment

I’m sure that Christmas around your house is the same as everybody else.  The entire tree is filled with boxes and packages, neatly wrapped and ready to be opened and adored.  One of the things I like the best is how only a few of those packages are unwrapped on Christmas day, and the following weeks are filled with joy because the other gifts will be opened on no particular schedule; just whenever somebody happens to feel like opening another present.  Just like the turkey, the leftovers can be just as much fun as the original.

YEAH RIGHT!

Christmas at my house is certainly the same as yours – but it has nothing to do with leftover gifts!  Everybody wakes up early, gathers around the tree, determines who will play Santa this year and hand out the spoils, and attack anything that resembles a gift!

Does this work in God’s church?  I wish that I could say “yes”, but I’m not entirely convinced that this would be an accurate assessment.  Paul talks about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14 and clearly states that every believer is given at least one specific gift.  “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good,” 1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV.  The problem is this: the church cannot open the gift – only the giver has that ability.

Everyone has a special gift.  But it is not a gift to keep for yourself.  It is a gift from God to be given back to God for God’s purposes.

It’s like getting into a canoe with two paddles and someone handing you one while keeping the other for themselves – both of you will need to use yours.  Two paddles are required in order for the canoe to function properly in the adventure of going downstream.

Picture the church as a canoe with 50 seats.  OK, I can’t get there either.  Picture the church as a Christmas tree with Christ as the topper.  The decorations are all in place, the lights shine brightly and the ornaments are skillfully placed precisely where required.  But the most beautiful Christmas tree is the one in which the presents have all been given, opened, and are out fulfilling their intended usefulness.

I have yet to encounter a church that does not have many still-unopened gifts within.  It is sad to know that there are missed blessings for the person with the gift to give, to the church that would benefit from the gift, and to God who supplied the gift to begin with.  Would you really want to leave a present under the tree unopened; unused?

What is the special gift that God has given you?  If you are truly aware, are you using it for His glory and the building up of the church?  Every church in existence today could certainly use the leftovers for God’s kingdom work.  Open up and see what great things God can do!

Posted September 12, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Christmas, Church, Service, Spiritual Gifts

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