1 Corinthians 12:4-7 – Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: (HCSB)
I heard someone recently say, “If it’s the thought that counts in gift giving, how do I get people to think a little harder?” I know I have wondered that same thing! There have been times I’ve opened a gift and was filled with curiosity to know, “What is it about my personality that made you think of me when you decided to give this as a gift?” I have gotten gifts that I knew I would never use. I have gotten gifts that I didn’t know if I would use them or not because I didn’t know what they were. I hate to admit it, but on occasion I have been the giver of those types of gifts. Sometimes it happens that we simply made a bad choice when choosing a gift. Sometimes a gift is required but we have no idea what to give so we go with the attitude that anything is better than nothing. Not all gifts are awful – sometimes we get a gift that we can’t wait to use! God gives us gifts, and His gifts are always perfect because He always knows exactly what is needed. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us that even though our spiritual gifts are very diverse, we need to be careful not to consider one gift more important than another. I started thinking about who in my church has the most important gifts that add to the ministry. I think most people would say the pastor. He is certainly gifted and has the most visible gift, but personally I am very appreciative of the guy who uses his gift of service and empties the trashcans and especially appreciative of the person who makes sure there’s paper in the bathroom stalls! 1 Corinthians 1:10 tells us that Jesus planned for the church to function as one body. My husband and I know a young man that the right side of his brain is perfect and the left side of his brain is perfect, but the part that connects the two sides does not function properly and therefore this young man’s entire body suffers. It is the same if the church body doesn’t not work together. 1 Peter 4:11 tells us that God should be glorified through our service so it should not matter to us if we have the most visible of church jobs or work behind the scenes. Love needs to be the driving force behind our spiritual gifts, and true love ministers with no anticipation of recognition. When we minister in love, God is glorified. As I go about using the gifts You have given to me, Lord, help me to serve others as You would serve them, to speak as You would speak, and to have all my actions immersed in an attitude of love. Help me to always remember that I was not given gifts to impress others but to serve others and to point others to You.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in everything,for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (HCSB
My husband read somewhere that a husband should thank his wife for going out with him when they go to the movies or to a restaurant or whatever. Trust me, at our house he does not need to thank me for going out to eat! He may want to thank me for not running him over as I race to the car, but he doesn’t need to thank me for eating out. Let’s see — looking at a menu instead of planning a meal; telling someone what I want rather than having to cook it; walking away instead of washing dishes – I’m good, no thanks necessary! As I’m enjoying my cup of coffee this morning and remembering last night’s dinner out, I begin to think about the idea of giving thanks. Some people are really good about sending thank you notes, some just don’t do it. It is embarrassing and frustrating to me when I need to know if a gift was received and am forced to ask! I have a friend who believes that if anyone gives her a gift of any kind, it is because God laid it on that person’s heart, so she never thanks the giver for they were just doing what God told them to do. True, but a little thanks goes a long way and people want to feel appreciated. Do You feel that way about Your people, Lord? You bless us in so many ways everyday, and we take the blessing and walk away without even a thought of thanksgiving and no mention of appreciation. Psalm 107:1 says to give thanks to You because You are so good to us, but are we being like those people who irritate us because their lack of acknowledgement seems to dismiss our gift? Luke 17:11-19 tells us about ten lepers. Am I more like the nine who walked away with my blessing or the one who gave thanks? Psalm 105: 1-2 tells us to not only give thanks to You but to tell people how wonderful You are. Do I tell everyone I see about a nice gift a person gave me but keep silent about the amazing gifts from You? Lord, I come before You today giving thanks for all of the ways You bless me and giving special thanks for the gift of Your Son. Today as I enjoy the gift of life, I will not only give thanks to You but also tell of Your wonderful greatness.
Romans 15:13 – Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (HCSB)
The house is clean. The presents are under the tree. The groceries have been bought. The recipes are waiting to be turned into dishes with wonderful tastes, scrumptious smells, and no calories (okay, that last one is just a Christmas wish!). As I fix myself another cup of coffee and sit for just a minute, I can’t help but think about how You must feel as we celebrate the birth of Your only Son. We run around shopping and cooking and shopping some more. Checking, wrapping, and checking again to be sure we have gifts for everyone. Are we ignoring the gift that You gave us? We decorate the tree, decorate the table, decorate both inside and outside the house. We cover everything, including ourselves, in items that sparkle and shine. Are we shining Your light into a dark world? We shop for weeks, sometimes months, to find the “perfect gift”. We give hints and wish lists and try to hide our disappointment when we open the this-is-not-at-all-what-I-wanted gift. Meanwhile, there are people who have no idea about Your perfect gift. We can be so overwhelmed that we forget to be overjoyed. We may be filled with wonder at how the decorative lights brighten a dark street but forget to be filled with wonder at how You have told us to be the light that brightens a dark world. Lord, please help me not to get so caught up in the busyness of Christmas that I forget to find rest in being with You. Help me to not get so caught up in the abundant gifts and food that I forget that You have given me abundant life through Christ. Help me to not get so caught up in the celebrations of Christmas that I forget to celebrate Christ.