Gifts; October 28, 2018

Ephesians 3:2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you.

This theme comes out again and again in the Bible: “given to me for you.” God’s gifts are seldom if ever given for just the immediate recipient. Paul was an enormously gifted individual, acting as God’s conduit for half of the New Testament, but the point is, he was a conduit, not the sole beneficiary. God Himself is Trinity, and so is in constant community, so to speak. He did not create us for isolation, but to be interrelated to one another and to Him. American culture has made something of a shrine to the individual, and the rest of the world has copied that to a great extent. The thing is, God does love us individually, and we are individually accountable to Him, but He designed us to be in community, to learn to serve Him through serving each other. That’s why He gifts each person, not so much for their own sake as for the sake of those they touch in various ways. If we look back over history, those we acknowledge as great are considered so because of how they impacted others. This should eliminate the pride factor, because whatever God has given you, or done through you, it is for the sake of others, and not to puff you up. We see that as a paradox, that God would love each of us individually and intensely, but at the same time gift us only in relation to others, but that’s just how God is. As Peter said, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

This has always been an issue for me, because I have been called “gifted” all my life. Much if not most of that has been squandered for my own satisfaction, rather than being used and developed for the benefit of others. That is something I will certainly have to answer for to God. I am enormously grateful for the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ! I have discovered what a blessing it is to bless others, but I don’t feel I have been at all consistent in doing that with all that has been poured into me. I suppose you could call it a “mid-life crisis,” though at 70 it’s quite a bit late. Given my current good health and the general growth in life expectancy, I expect to be around another 20 years or so. Since I can’t change the past, my focus is to be on the task and the people at hand. I am to seek to allow God to touch and bless others through me, fulfilling His purposes for me, knowing that every one of those purposes involves other people. My focus must not be on myself, but first on my Lord and then on those with whom He brings me in contact, for their blessing and His glory.

Father, this is something You bring me back to again and again, because I’m so slow to learn it properly. Thank You for Your patience with me. I pray that in the service today I would be an open, effective conduit for all You want to pour through me, whatever that might be, so that everyone would be blessed and strengthened and drawn closer to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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