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making the connection | August 6, 2017

August 2, 2017

I love gifts. I love giving gifts. I love receiving gifts. And I especially love when a gift suits a recipient perfectly. It’s thrilling when I know that a gift is just perfect for someone. And I love when I’m blown away by a gift that seems like it was tailor-made for me.

It’s easy to see when a giver knows their recipient well. They seem to know their recipient and what they want or need better than the recipients know themselves. The same is true for our spiritual lives. God gives good gifts. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) And God knows us better than we know ourselves and knows exactly what suits us. He knows what we can do with the gifts He gives.

But sometimes we are ungrateful when we receive gifts we don’t understand or think we need. We’ve all seen (or been) that kid who struggles to hide their disappointment when they open a present they hoped was a toy only to find socks or a sweater instead. Or maybe we’ve received a gift we never really needed or wanted and we wonder what we’re going to do with it. We question if we’re ever going to use it or where we’re going to store it. But we should be thinking about why we were given the gift. There are reasons behind the gifts we receive – both from the people in our lives and from God.

Other times we realize the value of gifts we’ve received and we’re too afraid to use them. We think they’re too precious to use in our everyday lives so we pack them away for special occasions that really don’t come often enough. But that’s no way to live. What’s the point of a valuable gift that collects dust in the attic?

We need to trust God and the gifts He has given us. Maybe we don’t know exactly what to do with a certain gift. But in time, by getting to know God, we will understand how He is calling us to use our gifts. Maybe we are afraid to use our gifts because we worry we’ll mess up so we store them in the attic next to our great-grandmother’s china. But we need to trust that God is wise and His plans are good and He wants us to step out and use the gifts He’s entrusted to us. – Sarah Neel

  • Take some time this week to reflect and pray about the gifts God has given you. Have you put those gifts to work? If not, what next step could you take to faithfully respond to the gifts God has given you?
  • Be inspired by stories in the Bible that show what can happen when people put God’s gifts to work. Here are a few to check out: The Parable of the Bags of Gold in Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand in Matthew 14:13-2, The Widow’s Offering in Mark 12:41-44, and David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
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