Tag Archives: giving

Using What You’ve Got

I really wish I could paint. I have the idea in my head, I can see what I want the picture to look like, but somewhere between my brain and my hands it all gets lost.  Thankfully for me, there are people who can paint beautifully, and I can usually find a picture to illustrate the thought I’ve had.  And if we all painted, who would write music, write great stories, explain scientific principles, cook, dust, be available to talk or pray?  All of us have gifts, just different ones – they are all equally valuable.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Spiritual Gifts

12 My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. Now I want you to know that if you are led by God’s Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.

The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick 10 or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God’s Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. 11 But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.

Equally we all have different spiritual gifts.  God has given each of us a way we can serve him and those around us.

What gift has God given to you?  Are you using it?

I can sit and wish I had a different gift, or I can get on with using the ones I’ve got.

Today, I offer to God, the gift he has given me, and ask him to use it.

Thank you Lord

for the gifts you have given me,

that make me who I am.

May I not sit around

wishing I had a different gift,

but use the ones I have

for you

and those around me.

Today Lord,

I offer myself,

all I am

and ask that you will use my gifts

Giving What You Have – Christmas Day 11

Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the disciples. He spoke up and said, “There is a boy here who has five small loaves of barley bread and two fish. But what good is that with all these people?”

10 The ground was covered with grass, and Jesus told his disciples to have everyone sit down. About five thousand men were in the crowd. 11 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave thanks to God. Then he passed the bread to the people, and he did the same with the fish, until everyone had plenty to eat.

I love this passage.  The God of such abundance taking the humble offering of one boy, surely inconsequential in terms of the need, and making it beyond belief and plenty.

He ignores the stupidity of those who came unprepared and the disbelief of the disciples that anything could be done – and he gives and he blesses.  In the hands of God what is there is way beyond expectations and more than enough to fill the hunger.

The boy didn’t worry about how small a lunch he had to offer, he just gave it to Jesus to use. He could have worried how little it was, known it was not enough and so said nothing – then what would Jesus have had to work with?  But in being willing to hand it over, there was a beginning.  Andrew sees the paucity of what is available, Jesus sees a gift offered.

Nouwen reminds us that what we give is multiplied – that is God’s way.  And the more we give away, the more we discover how much there is to give away – but we have to be willing to give it.

The theme of giving generously continues.

What have I got that I can offer to God?  It may seem small or insignificant to me, but in the hands of God, what may it become?  I can hide it away, embarrassed at the meagerness of it, or humbly offer it to God for him to use it.  We all have something we can offer to him.

Lord

I offer to you,

what I have,

what I am.

To me it seems small,

nowhere near enough,

but I give it to you,

that you may do

with it what you will

This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub

Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are:

http://www.likeasthehart.me.uk/

http://drbexl.co.uk/

http://clairemaxim1.wordpress.com/

http://runninglife.wordpress.com/

http://dorothy726blog.wordpress.com/

Giving – Christmas Day 5

2012-12-28 10.12.36

Anyone who knows me, will appreciate what an excellent gift my Sister-in-law found for me – and thanks again to her for it!

Choosing gifts is always a risky business, especially if someone wants something specific or technical.  This year Mr Pamsperambulation selected his own gift and brought it home for me to wrap, because what he wanted wasn’t available, so he had to make a different choice, and he knew what features were important to him.

Yet sometimes giving a physical gift is the easy bit.

Henri Nouwen reminds us that true giving requires,

the giving of self

and that may really cost us… To be available, even when it’s not convenient; to be a friend; to support; to forgive; to keep going; to be open…

That is really giving – holding nothing of ourselves back, giving our all, allowing ourselves to be used.

The Wise Men

2 When Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem in Judea, Herod was king. During this time some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

The wise men listened to what the king said and then left. And the star they had seen in the east went on ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 They were thrilled and excited to see the star.

11 When the men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshipped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.

As we journey this Advent and Christmas, as we look to a new year dawning, what are we offering to God?

Are they the things he needs?  Or just something we feel we can give up?

Are we offering him part of us?  Or all of us?

Are we just sharing the good, shiny bits of our lives?  Or everything?  Can we also give the tough bits of our life to God, for him to use?

And do we give ourselves to others?  Today’s action is about giving gifts of signposts to those who need it.  Are we generous with ourselves and what we give to others?  Are we willing to give, even when we don’t know why?

 

I find today’s prayer in the book powerful:

Lord,

as the wise visitors from afar

laid their gifts at the feet of the Holy Babe,

let us also lay our worries,

our defeats,

our hungers,

our needs,

and our wants

so that we may journey unencumbered

to the final revelation with you in heaven.

Give us, we pray,

food and song for the journey

This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub

Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are:

http://www.likeasthehart.me.uk/

http://drbexl.co.uk/

http://clairemaxim1.wordpress.com/

http://runninglife.wordpress.com/

http://dorothy726blog.wordpress.com/