Unopened Gifts and the Overflowing Toolbox

thumb_COLOURBOX7981409Somewhere in the world, there might be one person who truly does not like receiving gifts.   However, I have yet to meet him or her.   Most people love to receive gifts, especially if they are attractively wrapped or presented in a beautiful gift bag.   There is something exciting about NOT knowing what is inside the package!   It creates a sense of wonder and anticipation.

My family is spread around the country; over the years, a few of us have even lived abroad.   When my husband and I were living in Norway, our parents and siblings mailed gifts to us well in advance of Christmas and birthdays, as the transit time was unpredictable.   They wanted to be certain their gifts arrived on time for our celebrations.  That meant that we often received packages early   Since I am a stickler for celebrating holidays when they should be celebrated, receiving a gift early does not mean I have the right to open it.  Therefore, I  always saved the gift(s) until the designated celebration date, much to the annoyance of one of my sisters, who would call and demand I open her gift as soon as she knew it had arrived!  Personally, I felt it was a matter of integrity to wait until the proper time to open those gifts.

However, although timing is important with certain gifts, I think God would love for us to unwrap His gifts to us, instead of stockpiling them or allowing them to remain unused.  While we may enjoy admiring their pretty wrappings or counting how many presents we have received from the Lord, and we may even spend time studying our gift(s), the gifts He gives us are not for the purpose of gathering dust.  Instead, God intends them to be unwrapped, used, and given away to someone else.   God Himself invented the concept of re-gifting!  That means that He gives us insight, wisdom, kindness, mercy, prophetic words, faith, healing, miracles, gentleness, encouragement, and — most importantly — HIs love, all for the purpose of passing those gifts on to others.   Most gifts from God are not really for me to keep, but to share.

toolbox_1How many of us do not even realize that our toolboxes and gift closets are overflowing with unused tools and gifts from the Lord that He intends for us to distribute to everyone around us at every opportunity?   As preoccupied as I sometimes am with my personal worries and the demands of my own schedule, I can easily forget to notice the needs of the people around me at the store, the bank, the bus stop, or the post office.  Chances are, my Father wants to use me to give away a gift to one of those people — a gift of a smile, words of hope, a specific encouragement, an observation about how God sees them.

Father, forgive me for letting my tools accumulate to the point of gathering dust, simply because I don’t understand how to use them effectively.  Forgive me for stockpiling your gifts and admiring them to enhance my own view of myself.   Help me to remember that you are a faithful teacher and will empower me to use those tools and those gifts effectively to bring life and hope to other people.  Let me pick up a beautiful present of words of blessing today and give it away to someone else!  May You use me to touch those around me with a sense of Your love and goodness!

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