At the annual Sunday School white-elephant-gift Christmas party, I ended up with THIS:
My sons were little boys at the time, and they were thrilled to have a stuffed goat’s head to hang in their room. They even mounted a gun rack beneath the goat head, to display their Red Ryder BB guns.
A stuffed goat’s head was a waaaaay cooler gift for Mom to bring home than a pair of reindeer slippers or a black-bean-scented candle.
* * *
Yesterday in our small group study of Romans, we were talking about spiritual gifts. We weren’t naming and claiming particular gifts – “I have the gift of exhortation.” “I have the gift of mercy.” – rather, we were discussing inclinations and tendencies we noticed in each of our lives.
“I am very passionate about the truth. Sometimes, because I care so much about the truth, I run over people like a freight train,” I confessed. I do not want to compromise the truth, but I DO want to learn to be more compassionate in how I engage others with the truth.
A friend asked me several years ago, “Camille, what makes you feel really alive? What energizes and excites you?” My answer: “I love studying the Bible together with other people, especially with other women.” I get excited about God’s Word, about what God reveals to us about himself in his Word, about how God’s Word applies to everyday life.
During the large-group teaching session which followed our small-group discussion yesterday, our Bible teacher described those who share my gift: they are passionate about what God says about himself and about the truth; they have a strong sense of right and wrong; they are more loyal to truth than to people; they can tend to be harsh if not under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Bingo. I felt like Kathy had peeked through a secret window into my brain.
I have often wished I had a different gift, one a little softer, one a little more warm and fuzzy, one guaranteed to make me and the people around me feel good. Truth is a good thing, but it isn’t always pretty and sweet.
But I did not get to pick my gift.
Someone Else picked this gift for me. It was good to be reminded yesterday, as we looked at Romans 12:3-8, that God – my sovereign, good, loving, all-wise Creator – chose this gift for me. God knows what He’s doing; I can trust him.
It was good, too, to be reminded that this gift is not intended as a burden: although not very warm and fuzzy, this gift is a grace.
(Lord, please help me to use this gift for your glory and for the edification of your people.)