In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the why behind the way we use our gifts. I’d like to piggyback on that post today to talk about another aspect of using gifts.
I have noticed that, when it comes to people’s gifts, folks react in many different ways. Some of those reactions are positive, but others are not. Here’s a story that illustrates one of those negative reactions. I think I have told it before, but I hope it is worth repeating.
I love to sew and make crafts. I once made lots of the gifts that I gave. I had three purposes in doing that. One, I enjoyed it. Two, I wanted to honor the recipient with a handmade gift. Three, since our income was pretty limited, I could give a much nicer gift if I made it myself.
One time, when I was at a baby (or wedding) shower and the honoree opened my gift, another guest made a comment. As I recall, it went something like this: “People who can do stuff like that make me sick.” If I remember correctly, she was also referring to another guest a few seats away who had also made her present.
I wasn’t devastated for me. I feel sorry for the person who felt that way and who embarrassed herself (whether she realized it or not) by what she let come from her lips.
So, one way to react to someone else’s use of her gifts is to make disparaging comments that reveal some negative emotion.
As strange as it seems, some folks respond to folks who are gifted in certain ways by acting as if this person’s use of his gift is no big deal. They react with a sort of, well, of course, she is doing this wonderful thing; it’s natural for her.
Some people, like the artist I mentioned yesterday, relish their gifts. They love what their giftedness allows them to do. They spend hours and days and weeks and years using their gifts with joy. I have also noticed that people sometimes fail to appreciate what other people do if those other people actually find joy in what they are doing.
Let’s step away from the idea of artsy giftedness to some very practical, down-to-earth gifts.
One of the ladies who helps me with my mom’s care appears to be a natural-born caregiver. Perhaps this is not true at all. Perhaps she has honed this talent for many years. I really don’t know about that, but I do know this: she is great with my mother. She loves to help Mother do more than she has been doing lately. She brings Mother art pencils and sketch books. She brings her books to read. She curls her hair. When Tammy comes, I know that Mother and I will see Tammy smile and hear her laugh.
So, how should I react to Tammy’s gifts? To me, the answer is obvious — with gratitude! What if it really is easier for Tammy to take care of Mother than it is for other people to do that? Does that mean what Tammy is doing is no big deal for her? Praise God that she is both really good at it and that she actually enjoys it!
Let’s look around us and find people who are really good at something and people who really enjoy what they do. And then, let’s say, “Thank you!” We might be surprised at how long it’s been since they heard it.
Imagine their feeling of being really gifted in some area, of really enjoying doing it, and even being appreciated for it. We might not be able to help them with the first two, but we can certainly help with the last part.
God Himself is amazingly good at everything He does, and He finds great joy in it.
Yet, still, He wants us to appreciate it.
Therefore as you have received
Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him,
having been firmly rooted
and now being built up in Him
and established in your faith,
just as you were instructed,
and overflowing with gratitude.