Have you ever bought a gift? Spent a considerable amount of time picking out the perfect gift for someone special – whether a significant other, parent, child, or friend – and they set it aside, not bothering to open it? Or worst yet, after opening it, by the look on their face, you can tell that your selection was a flop?
This past Sunday, I had a speaking engagement at my parents’ church. It was Youth Day, and the theme for the day was Celebrating the Gift, with the purpose of encouraging young people to use their God-given gifts for His glory.
Through my preparation to speak, I was reminded that from birth we each have been given gifts from God – special talents or endowed natural abilities to do certain things that set us apart from others. Not one person is born on earth without gifts or abilities specially picked for them by God. Some may seem more significant than others, but all are presents from God that we did nothing to receive.
Many people go through a period in their lives wondering why they even exist, or they look to find meaning in their lives. Unfortunately, there are people that also go through life not knowing what any of their gifts are, or how they are supposed to use them. And still there are others that may know what their gifts are, but are only using them for personal gain and gratification.
I fell into that latter category for years. In my message, I shared that the gift of my intellectual aptitude allowed me to go to college on a full academic scholarship and I followed a path that utilized my gift to embark upon a career that I was good at, and thrived in. But I didn’t necessarily love my work.
And as I matured, it bothered me that my vocation was not making a positive impact in the lives of others. So, I started being intentional at work, finding ways to make a positive influence on the lives of those I came in contact with. I also started looking for opportunities to share the gospel with my co-workers.
But I wanted to do more, and as I approached my 40th birthday, I felt like I was not doing as much as I could with my life. I often refer to this as my “mid-life awakening.”
I once heard a quote that challenged: “Why slave at a job that has little meaning for 48 or 49 weeks out of the year, to only really enjoy your life on weekends and for those 3 or 4 vacation weeks?”
That quote really resonated with me. I initially felt like I wasted so many years – but I know now that I didn’t. I believe that God will use all my experiences over all those years to help others somehow. But to do so, I must demonstrate the courage to offer my gifts to others.
So here I am writing my story every week – and I never even considered writing a gift. I don’t particularly love the process, but I’m extremely grateful for the end product. Every week when I’ve finally finished the blog, and (hopefully!) edited all my mistakes, the feeling I have is indescribable. I want to have that feeling every day.
So, if you have not done so already, go ahead and open up your gift from God and use it! It was freely given to you – no payment necessary. I encourage you to explore your inner thoughts, abilities, and personality, and ask God to show you what you should be doing with your life.
And then maybe one day soon, we both will start waking up every Monday morning feeling like we are on vacation!
Spend a few minutes doing a retrospect of your life. Do you know what your gifts and talents are?
Are you using your gifts from God? If so, how are you using them?
If you want to really explore your gift, your purpose, and why you are on earth, I highly encourage you to pick up The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren. Pastor Warren will lead you on an amazing 40-day journey to assist you with living out your purpose for God.
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…