Now that the holiday season is behind us, winter looms over us sans Christmas cheer, twinkling lights, and Chick-fil-A’s peppermint milkshakes. It can be a bit depressing. But in honor of God’s gift of Jesus, the presents that have been exchanged with loved ones are now in use and benefitting our lives.
When I was seven, I wanted an American Girl doll for Christmas more than anything. And not just any of the dolls; I wanted Samantha, the one with curly, brown hair from the Victorian era. As December 25 approached, I kept checking under the tree for just the right-sized box. But alas, none was to be found. When the time to open presents finally arrived, nothing under the tree even remotely resembled anything that could be an American Girl doll. I felt disappointed, but rallied myself that it was going to be a good Christmas and I would be satisfied with and grateful for the presents I did get.
Surrounded by my family, I unwrapped a small, unassuming box and pulled out a single piece of paper. It told me to go check the hall closet. Inside was a wrapped present just about the size of a doll. Could it be? I hardly dared to hope. As I unwrapped it, elation overwhelmed me. I clung to my brand-new Samantha doll. My hopes and dreams had come true.
Now, I can imagine it must have been truly satisfying for my parents and my grandma to have their gift be so well-received and bring such joy for years to come. My childhood best friend Clara also got a doll that year – Felicity from the Revolutionary War era – so we played with them for hours upon hours together. They were gifts that kept on giving – joy, fun, friendship, and even history lessons!
Along with His Son, God has given believers gifts to benefit our day-to-day lives. And when I say, “our lives,” I really mean each other’s lives. While God doesn’t need us, He chooses to use us to accomplish His purposes in each other’s lives. According to I Corinthians 12:4-7, the Holy Spirit has gifted us to serve God within the body of believers in our own individual ways.
The Holy Spirit has gifted us to serve God within the body of believers in our own individual ways.Click to tweet
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
We’ve all been given different gifts. In college, I was so jealous of my friend’s ability to speak warm, hospitable words of affirmation to others that I was too distracted to develop and use the gifts God had given me. That probably didn’t bring Him the joy my parents and grandma felt when they gave me my American Girl doll. Imagine being gathered around the tree on Christmas and a loved one has carelessly tossed aside the gift you’ve carefully selected for them because they like another’s gift better. Ouch!
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but if we focus too much on someone else’s strengths or our own weaknesses, we’ll miss out on God’s gifts to us: our strengths and talents! And it isn’t just us who will suffer for our dissatisfaction – the entire body of Christ will.
“If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” I Corinthians 12:17-18
Each of us is integral to the body of Christ. And not only that, but when we use our spiritual gifts to build each other up in love, it’s part of our witness to the world (John 13:35). So, let’s do what God has enabled us to do to the best of our abilities and rejoice over others’ gifts.
How has God equipped you to benefit the body of believers? Own your gift to the glory of God by sharing it in the comments below!
Family Radio Staff
P.S. Want to read more on this topic? Check out “The Greener Grass!”