I am terrible at presents. I really struggle to choose anything decent and I know that I’m also a really hard person to buy for, because I never know what I want. The problem with this is that it leads to the fear, for whoever is buying the present, that a lot of thought will go into a gift which will just remain unused.
Generally, I’m always really pleased with what I get. If I was that fussy then I’d know what I wanted in the first place. But I have seen so many instances where gifts have been exchanged and you know instantly, from the look on the recipient’s face, that this gift will never be used. It may never even make it out of the box.
Any parent can sympathise with this, especially that moment when you see your child open something and immediately start playing, not with the toy, but with the box. I’ve always thought that there’s a real niche in the market for cardboard boxes alone.
It’s never anybody’s fault, but it’s the gamble of buying gifts. Sometimes it’ll just be wrong. You can never get it 100% right, so there will be occasions where the gratitude is for the thought, but not for the gift itself.
Now, imagine you know every tiny detail about a person and their character. In fact, imagine you shaped that person from the start and are still working on them. Imagine you had a particular purpose for them from before their birth and made sure that they were the type of person who could fulfil that purpose. Imagine you know them better than they know themselves.
Now imagine choosing a gift for them. How easy would that be? You would know what they like, what they’re capable of, how great they could be using that gift. It’s pretty much made for them. Or, at least, they are pretty much made for it.
Now imagine that they open the gift and…
No reaction. No excitement. Maybe a bit of fear or resistance. And the gift just sits there.
That is what so any of us do with our whole lives. We have situations, opportunities, talents, skills, knowledge, wisdom. We have gifts. But we waste them. We don’t use them, don’t think we’re good enough, use them for the wrong purposes, decided we would rather do something else and we waste our God given gifts.
We’re like the servant in Jesus’ parable of the ten moans who his his coin in a cloth in fear of what would happen to him if he failed. That fear can hold us back, the feeling that things could go wrong, so we think that doing nothing is better than taking a risk.
If that’s the case, what’s the point in being given the gifts in the first place? If we are able to speak, write, teach, motivate, organise, comfort, entertain, mend, heal, advise, guide, feed, give, make, share, shelter, lead or any of the multitude of other things God may enable us to do, but we choose not to, then what is the point? Use the gifts and those gifts will increase, develop and bear more fruit. Waste them and they will diminish, disappear and leave us empty.
Everybody has a gift. It may not be spectacular or, on its own, world changing, but if everyone recognised their gifts and use them as God intended then the world would change. The world would be what it is made to be, we would be as we were made to be.
So, are you just going to sit there? Or are you going to unwrap your gift and start trying to use it?
Go on. Take a risk.