We had a party Thursday night for the elders and managers at our church and we were all instructed to bring along a white elephant gift to share. I know that when our pastor, Chris, and his wife, Leigh, brought their gift to share they were relieved to get that eyesore out of the house once and for all! Jim was the lucky recipient of their treasure. You know what they say–one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! The fact is they just didn’t realize what they had!
I know that when Pastor Chris and Leigh read this blog they will be looking for excuses to get their white elephant gift back. They really had something with this gadget but had no idea of the treasure they possessed! OK. I’m teasing.
During the Christmas season we think about gifts a lot. As we celebrate Jesus’s birth we are foremost reminded about the free Gift of salvation that we received as a result of Jesus’s sacrifice for our sins. Then once we ask for forgiveness and accept Jesus as our Savior, we find that we are gifted again. The Bible mentions our spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (NKJV). It says: There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
There are those who may not recognize the gift they have been given. Nor do they see the value in their gifts or take the time to explore ways to use them as they should. They view them as a white elephant gift rather than the valuable tool they’ve been given. They might even pray for a different gift thinking theirs is not good enough and is not useful. It might actually take someone else to recognize the value in their gift before they see it as it is themselves.
Do you know how God has gifted you? Are you using your gifts to their fullest? Does your gift feel like a white elephant to you? Take time this month to ask God to show you how to best use your gifts for Him. The scripture says that He distributes the gifts to each one individually as He wills. That wording alone tells me that He has a purpose for giving us the gifts we have. He doesn’t want us to see them as white elephant gifts; rather, He wants us to use them for Him and for the Body of Christ. Maybe we simply need to stop and pray that we can see our gifts through God’s eyes to find the treasure and recognize the reason that He has given us the gifts that He did.
So as you reflect on what I have said this week remember Jim’s white elephant gift. Be reminded that even though it may appear useless or insignificant, if God is in it, it holds great power and gives purpose to those who believe. Turn what you thought was trash into a treasure this upcoming year. Just as Jesus gave His life as a free gift to us I pray that we too will offer ourselves to Him as His gift in the days to come. Paul gives us great direction in Romans 2 about just that. He says: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
You see. One gift is not better than the other. However, if the value of your gift is not obvious, you may need to seek wisdom from other Christians and pray asking for God’s divine direction. For when we are obedient and use the gifts we have been given, we are blessed. God doesn’t hand out white elephant gifts; rather all of His gifts are something to treasure! Enjoy your week and don’t forget…go be a blessing!