My grandsons are enjoying their first winter in northern Georgia and it is a bit different than northern Illinois. When Jake heard there was snow in Illinois he got really sad. He loves snow! He always has.
But, in Georgia, you don’t get a lot of snow, so we started praying for snow, (sorry Georgia…) but the Lord didn’t send snow; instead they got a coating of ice! So the boys got busy and even Matty (our southerner at heart) braved the cold to pick a few ice berries. (Great idea, Mommy!)
Children are not the only ones who sometimes want what they don’t have… sometimes grown-ups do. There have been times when I’ve heard that someone has something I don’t and I thought, “I want that.” I have even looked at another person’s spiritual gift and thought, “I want to do what he/she is doing.”
It’s easy to think that way: “If I had that person’s gift, I could really make an impact for God.” “If I had their income, I could give more.” “If I had their house, I’d host more events.” “If I had that job, I wouldn’t be afraid to talk about God at work.” “If I had that ministry, I’d be happy.”
I’m not sure my grandsons ever thought that way about snow. I can’t imagine them saying, “If I had deep snow, I’d start playing.” They play every day! Not having snow doesn’t prevent them from playing – they have other things to play with. Not having the gift or ministry that we think we deserve, or that we think we’d be good at, or that we covet shouldn’t keep us from serving either. We have other things we can use. Every Christian has a gift of some kind – God doesn’t hold back!
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; it if is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently, if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” – Romans12:6-8 NIV
You have a gift. You probably know what it is. Where are you using it? Are you praying for a different gift? What if God gives you something other than what you are asking, hoping, or waiting for? Will you use that gift?
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” – 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NIV
…but he got a little. Then, he had to make a choice: sit inside hoping for more snow, or use what he received. Since everyone knows you have to shovel snow while you can, Jake decided to get to work (even before he got out of his pajamas)! It’s a good thing he took his snow shovel with him when he moved – someone has to clear the deck!
When we focus on what we don’t have, it’s easy to overlook the gifts and resources that we do have. God has given us the gifts and resources that he expects us to use. It may not be what we want – or in the abundance that we think we want, but it is exactly what God wants us to have. If we neglect to use it while we have it, will it melt away?
“Do not neglect your gift… …fan into flame the gift of God” – 1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6 – NIV
“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have even what they have will be taken from them. – Matthew 25:29 NIV
Will you put to use the gift God has given you, serving wholeheartedly where you are with the resources you have? You might be surprised at what you can accomplish.