Utilizing the Gifts in 2014

Utilizing the Gifts in 2014

 
During the past few days, I would imagine that many of you received gifts from spouses, parents, siblings, friends, employers, fellow employees, or charitable organizations. Possibly, some of the gifts were unnecessary. It is also likely that there were individuals who may not have received any gifts. Be it so or otherwise, how can these gifts impact attitude, behavior, decision and the like? What can be expected of those who did not receive any gifts? If we focus simply on these special occasion-gifts, my intention for this article will be missed, as I am not referring to gifts purchased but gifts endowed and entrusted by the Greatest Giver, God. God does not overlook anyone; and that you will discover as I reference a Biblical parable (The Parable of The Talents) recorded in Matthew 25:14-30, to make three basic points.
 
No One Is Without a Gift
The Parable of the Talents explains that each of the three servants received talents, endowments or gifts, even if just one. This clearly underscores that God does not exclude anyone from His list. The Apostle Paul confirms this fact in 1 Corinthians 12:7 where he states, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” However, Paul further clarifies in Romans 12:3-6 that God gives people gifts according to their ability and in ways for which they are to function; and these are not limited to natural abilities but also acquired skills, talents and opportunities as suggested by the original word for talents or gifts. So what is the point? Whether you recognize it or not, your Heavenly Father has gifted you!  Given this reality, shouldn’t everyone seek to identify what are his or her gifts? Doing so will not only confirm a sense of value, usefulness and meaning, but it will also create wealth and expand opportunities for others.
 
Gifts Are to Be Utilized
            God expects that we use what He has given to us, no matter how small or insignificant the gift/s may seem. But apart from gifts, remember that I pointed out earlier that opportunities are included. For instance, He gives all of us a 24-hour period each day. He gives us life. He gives us family and friends. He gives us influence, positive reputation, and the benefit of His word. How are you utilizing or availing yourselves of these? Going back to the Parable of the Talents, it states that the person who received 5 talents went out and traded them and therefore gained 5 more. This was also the case of the second servant who received 2 and gained 2 more. In each case, they did something and therefore they were blessed.
With a brand new year upon us, we, too, are being given the opportunities to not just recognize what we possess but to embrace possibilities. Notwithstanding that one may have been trained for a certain field, if there is no opening, he or she should be willing to go into another area, or accept an entry position, but never compromising himself or herself for gain. In the process of being open and willing, you are likely to discover other talents and opportunities God has in store for you. I can think of persons who were laid off, but instead of being angry with the boss or company, they prayerfully sought guidance and were inspired to engage in their own businesses; and now they are successful with many employees and making significant contributions in building their nation.
How are you utilizing your 24-hour period? Has it occurred to you the wonderful friends that you have? What about your ability to make people laugh, your ability to speak, sing, write, cook, sow, construct, repair, to trouble shoot problems, lift heavy items and play an instrument? These did not come by chance; God has gifted you. It is about time you utilize and expand on them. There are natural and acquired abilities. Personally, in 1976, I would not have imagined myself as a pastor or a leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, as I recall, God strategically placed persons in my path to point out what I did not see --as well as opportunities that necessitated that I do certain things that would hone the talents He planted in me. Imagine if I had not been willing to follow and go in His direction, I would not have grown and be where I am today. You, too, can realize God’s purpose for your life.
             
 
Gifts Carry Responsibility
            As noted in the parable of the Talents, the Master who went away returned and required a reckoning of his talents or gifts. Likewise, God will one day require us to provide an account of our faithfulness in utilizing that with which He has endowed us. We will all have to answer to Him one day.  In the case of the parable, God commended the first two servants for their faithfulness and gave them the same “well done” pronouncement. This shows that God does not reward for equal giving but equal sacrifice. The bottom line is faithfulness. Accordingly, should we not endeavor to prove more faithful in using what we have, as opposed to wishing for what we do not have? Therefore, there is no need to envy or grudge another, as God has gifted each of us. We need to discover our gifts and faithfully employ them. Thereby, we would be empowered; and as a result, crime is likely to trend down. Also, by extension, our country is likely to be a better place; but we must begin utilizing the gifts we have now, and thereby 2014 will be a banner year for you.