All Posts Tagged: gift
“It’s like a man going on a trip.
He called his servants and loaned them money
to invest for him while he was gone.”
The belly button marks the place at which the nutritional “life line” from your mother was attached to you. This permanent scar is a reminder of a profound truth: life is a GIFT! Grace is given to us through Jesus (the umbilical cord) (Means of Life) so that we are enabled to achieve the purpose for which the Creator designed us. (Maker of Life)
Fundamentally, Father loans you three commodities: Time, Talent and Treasure. “It’s like a man going on a trip. He called his servants and loaned them money to invest for him while he was gone” (Matthew 25:14)
TIME! How many days will you live? Obviously, you don’t know! What you do know is this: when you wake up in the morning, your “alive–ness” is a gift.“ Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent. (Carl Sandburg))” So, “teach us to use wisely all the time we have” ( Psalm 90:12)
TALENT! Consider your unique personality and talent mix. Did you purchase it/them at Niemen Marcus? Here’s what the Manual says: “You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13) “God didn’t have time to make a nobody, only a somebody. I believe that each of us has God-given talents within us waiting to be brought to fruition.” (Mary Kay Ash)
TREASURE! Much advertising appeals to our sense of entitlement. “You’ve work long and hard! You deserve this!” However, a smidgen of honesty reveals the truth. Yes, we work hard; but with the time and talent that have grace-fully been given! “Every good endowment that we possess and every complete gift that we have received comes from the Father above” (Psalm 139:13) “Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)
“Sometime later the master returned and called them to give an account of how they had used his money”. (Matthew 25:19) As with any financier, Father wants a return on His investment. How’s your account in His portfolio?
Everybody gets a gift. And these gifts come in different doses and combinations. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is” (1 Cor. 12:7 MSG).
Our inheritance is grace based and equal. But our assignments are tailor-made. No two snowflakes are the same. No two fingerprints are the same. Why would two skill sets be the same? No wonder Paul said, “Make sure you understand what the Master wants” (Eph. 5:17 MSG).
Do you understand what your Master wants? Do you know what makes you, you? Have you identified the features that distinguish you from every other human who has inhaled oxygen?
You have “acreage” to develop, a lot in life. So “make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that” (Gal. 6:4 MSG).
You be you. No one else is like you. Imagine a classroom of kids on a given day in a given school. Ten of the twenty-five students are fighting to stay awake. Ten others are alert but ready to leave. Five students are not only awake and alert, but they don’t want the class to end. They even do odd things like extra homework or tutoring. What class was that intriguing to you?
“If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11). Ability reveals destiny. What is your ability? What do you do well? What do people ask you to do again? What task comes easily? What topic keeps your attention?
Your skill set is your road map. It leads you to your territory. Take note of your strengths. They are breadcrumbs that will lead you out of the wilderness. God loves you too much to give you a job and not the skills. Identify yours.
What you do for a living should conform to your design. Few situations are more miserable than a job misfit. Yet few maladies are more common. One study stated that only 13 percent of all workers find their work truly meaningful. No wonder commuters look so grumpy. Nearly nine out of ten of them don’t want to go to work. Imagine the impact this unhappiness has on health, family, and performance. If a person spends forty or more hours a week plodding through a job he or she does not like or care about, what happens?
Find something you like to do, and do it so well that people pay you to do it. For twenty years I was the senior minister of our church. I was in the thick of it all: budgets, personnel issues, buildings, hiring, and firing. I was happy to fill the role. But I was happiest preaching and writing. My mind was always gravitating toward the next sermon, the next series. Even during committee meetings, especially during committee meetings, I was doodling on the next message.
As the church increased in number, so did the staff. More staff meant more people to manage. More people to manage meant spending more time doing what I didn’t feel called to do. I was gradually becoming one of the grumpy 87 percent.
I was blessed to have options. I was equally blessed to have a church that provided flexibility. I transitioned from senior minister to teaching minister. When I became teaching minister, a few people were puzzled. “Don’t you miss being the senior minister?” Translation: Weren’t you demoted? Earlier in my life I would have thought so. But I have come to see God’s definition of promotion: a promotion is not a move up the ladder; it is a move toward your call. Don’t let someone “promote” you out of your call.
Look for ways to align your job with your skills. This may take time. This may take several conversations with your boss. This may take trial and error… but don’t give up. Not every tuba player has the skills to direct the orchestra. If you can, then do. If you can’t, then blast away on your tuba with delight.
Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. They sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths. (Genesis 3:7)
God pieced together the skins of animals and made clothes for Adam and Eve to wear. (Genesis 3:21)
Adam and Eve sensed things were not right. They were dis-eased; but they didn’t have a clue about its deadly nature. So, they resorted to bandages, “fig leaves”, to hide their brokenness. However, the Great Physician, knowing theirs’ was a “sickness unto death” (Soren Kierkegaard), fabricated “skins of animals”. Fig leaves and animal skins—sounds mythological! What’s going on? What’s the difference?
It’s somewhat obscure: God slaughtered animals to acquire the skins. Apparently, the best therapy for the couple’s dis-ease required a bloody sacrifice. If that seems barbaric, consider this: we’re inundated with violence and blood via movies, video games, and television. Seemingly we have a rather large appetite for such.
Blood is called the “liquid of life.” Oxygen fuels the operation of every organ in the body, especially the brain. Blood is the carrier of this indispensable chemical. Two of the four vital signs relate to blood transportation. So, modern medicine has validated the Creator’s assertion: “The life of the body is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).
After the Jews were delivered from Egyptian bondage God wrote a prescription for right-ness: “I have given you the blood of sacrifice for making atonement for your lives through the life that is in it” (Leviticus 17:11). “I have given you….” The medication is a Gift. “I have given you the blood …” Remember: blood means life. So, God’s medicine is the Gift of Life.
“I have given you the blood of sacrifice….” The Gift of Life is costly. No health insurance is able to cover the cost. “The blood of sacrifice” is “for making atonement for your lives.” A drug is given FOR a precise disorder. Ambien is prescribed for sleep. What’s “atonement”? The Hebrew word is extremely rich; but here’s the core meaning: to cover by payment. Here’s an example. You go to a concert with a friend, but realize that you’ve forgotten your wallet. Your friend pays for your ticket saying, “I’ve got you covered.” David expressed it this way: “Blessed is the one whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1). Isaiah beautifully describes the results: “Even though your sins are bright red, they will be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
So, for the second time in Genesis 3 the Good News is announced. Are you getting the message? The Creator’s heart of compassion is to HEAL not HURT! Through Jesus’ crucifixion Father’s prescription for life is available “free of charge.” At the Cross God has declared to humankind: “I have given you the blood of sacrifice for making atonement for your lives through the life that is in it.” Have you picked up your medication yet?