“But each one has his own gift from God, one in this way and another in that way.” (1 Cor 7:7)
When I was in high school, I was dying for a guitar. My brother played, and I loved music. One Christmas, when I came down the stairs, I saw a guitar under the tree. I was immediately in love. I immersed myself in music. Over the years, I led times of worship for Sunday School classes and occasionally for the whole congregation when our church first introduced contemporary worship. The gift of that guitar blessed me profoundly over the years.
At some point, amid harried adult life, I stopped playing. The gift sat unused in a corner. I missed playing the guitar but was too busy, or so I told myself. Eventually, I forgot about the guitar. Last year, I pulled the guitar back out and began relearning how to play. I remember now how much I love it and how it fills an empty spot in me when I play
God has given every one of us extraordinary gifts. Some people’s gifts are expressed in what they do: gifts like teaching and leadership, administration, strategic planning, and visionary thinking. Others offer their gifts through who they are: gifts like encouragement and mercy, wisdom, discernment, and hope. While some people think there are a limited number of spiritual gifts, I believe that God tailors our giftedness to us in a unique way (Ps 139). These gifts are God’s mechanism for including us in His plans, and yet I wonder how many people don’t realize that they have been given gifts from God, or worse still, have let them sit unused in a corner because of the busyness of life. How many people unintentionally demean the great Giver of gifts by believing that God skipped them when He gave out His gifts.
I find it fascinating that in New Testament Greek, the word for “gift” (charis) uses the same root as the word for “joy” (chara). When we use our gifts, our hearts are filled; we experience joy, and we connect with the Giver. We grow when we use our gifts. We are at our best when we are expressing our gifts, and, of course, others are blessed when we use our gifts.
If we are not using God’s special gifts to us, then we are missing out on God’s best for us. Do you know your gifts? Are you using your gifts? No matter what your age, no matter how long it has been since you exercised your giftedness, the blessing of His gifts to you awaits you. It may require effort and courage. It may require that you let go of lesser obligations to make room for expressing your gifts. But the path to joy and meaning is found when we live in the center of how God made us and how God has gifted us.
If you don’t know your gifts or doubt that you have any gifts, ask those close to you. Often, others see in us what we cannot see ourselves. Be bold. Step out in faith. One great way to discern your gifts is to identify the place where you experience joy.
Your gifts are from God. Don’t leave His best for you unopened. Enjoy His gifts, and in doing so, you will be giving to others.