I’m not very good at choosing gifts for people. I rely on clues, and then downright sneakiness to enable what I’ve got to be a surprise. Hannah and Ann are gifted at gifting. They choose things that show their love and insight, and often their humour. Always a pleasure to receive.
I think my worst example at buying a gift was the crystal butter dish I’d bought for my mum. I realised a few months later that there was this strange groove at one side of the lower half – I’d bought an ash tray and not realised it! But it was proudly converted to a butter dish and so it remained. Redeemed by love.
God is rather good at gifting too. But his gifts are unusual in this respect. They are for sharing.
They actually are given, often entrusted to individuals, but are to be received by the whole church. The gift of tongues, as Paul points out, is kind of an exception, in that it is generally to give and use individually in prayer and praise.
We are not very good at receiving. We don’t think we deserve anything – particularly being British, we have both a colonial and under-dog mentality.
Well, that won’t do.
It is rude to turn down gifts given in love. We have accepted Jesus’ gift of saving love, his forgiveness, his grace. We need to accept his gifts of ministry, use them, and let them multiply. It is our responsibility to each other.
Ask, and you shall receive. Share, and your cup shall be re-filled to overflowing.
If you spot a bushel on someone’s head, gently ease it off – but ask the permission of the wearer first.
If you are a good gift spotter – you have my permission to shine your torch to enable others to see.
Encourage. Encourage. Encourage.