Enjoy your gift...

By Jennie Pollock | 15 January 2018 | Comments (4)

 

One of my Christmas presents arrived late this year. It was sent direct from a well-known online retailer and included a note with a generic message for packages sent as presents. Arriving as it did in those reflective days at the close of the year, it struck me as fantastic life advice to take into 2018. It was this: Enjoy your gift.

 

What gifts has God given you? They could be ‘spiritual’ things, like the ability to pray fervently for others, a talent for encouraging them, or the gift of mercy. Or it could be more practical or tangible: Have you got green fingers, a creative eye or a talent for fixing things? Have you been given a home, good health or wonderful friends?

 

It is so easy to overlook our gifts, to dismiss them as unimportant, or to long for someone else’s gifts. The feelings of envy and inadequacy can be crippling and can severely hamper our Christian walk. The more I think about it, the more I think these three little words could be hugely helpful in resetting our focus and transforming the way we see ourselves. Let’s look at them one by one:

 

Enjoy – not ‘use’, not ‘cultivate’, not ‘work hard at’, but ‘enjoy’. Find joy in the gift God has given you. Revel in it. Thank him for it. Take it out often and play with it like a favourite toy. Your gifts aren’t meant to be a burden but a pleasure.

 

Your – we humans have a tendency to hanker after other people’s gifts, and this is as true of abilities and spiritual gifts as it is of physical items. What difference would it make to your life if you focussed on enjoying your gifts rather than wishing God had given you something else? Yes, we are told to eagerly desire the greater gifts (1 Cor 12:31), but equally we are not to despise the lesser ones. Thank God for the gifts he has given to you, and don’t worry about what he has given to anyone else. He is a good God and a loving father who loves to give good gifts to his children. Enjoy the ones he has chosen to lavish upon you.

 

Gifts – remember that these are gifts generously given, not rewards diligently earned. That may help with the comparison game, too – it’s so easy to think ‘I’ve only been given x; that must mean I’m not good enough to get y.’ But that is not how gifts work. Sometimes they are given according to need, but other times they are carefully selected to bring joy and delight. God has given you your gifts not according to your merit, but according to his wonderful, infinite, all-consuming love. Enjoy them, as he intended you to. (And don’t forget to say ‘thank you’.)

 

Unlike Christmas presents, though, the gifts of God are never just for our own pleasure and enjoyment. All the passages that speak about spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12-14, Romans 12:3-8, 1 Peter 4:8-11 etc) emphasise that they are given for the sake of building up the body of Christ, and this is true of our physical and practical gifts, too. The gift you have been given is not for you to hide away or keep for your own benefit, but as Peter says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).

 

The New Year’s resolutions may already be wearing thin, but let’s resolve to do this one thing that will make a lasting difference to ourselves and others: enjoy your gift.


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Posted by Jennie Pollock

Jennie Pollock is a freelance writer and editor. She lives and worships in central London, a gift for which she is forever thankful. In her spare time she loves exploring the city's culture, dancing, providing hospitality... and curling up with a good book and a cup of tea. She blogs at jenniepollock.com and tweets as @missjenniep

comments:

Doreen Verrall

January 18, 2018 7:55 AM
Thank you, Jennie, for that very encouraging and positive message. I found it very helpful and up building. Thank you, Father, for the gifts you have given to Jennie and to me.

Elizabeth Bean

January 18, 2018 8:51 AM
Thank you, Jennie, for these truly helpful and encouraging words.

John & Elsie Lanchbury

January 19, 2018 10:58 AM
Thank you Jennie,
a lovely and encouraging thought as we go through grey January days and into whatever God has for us in the days ahead.

Debs Hagen

January 22, 2018 9:21 PM
Very encouraging Jennie. This got passed to me via our Scottish friend Ali! So it bounced all the way up to Dundee and down to London again. I am endeavouring to enjoy and practise the gift God gave me to play piano, and will see where it leads this year.

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