I wrote it down, the brand, the size, the store, the price. When I handed him the slip of paper, I included the money and sent him on his way to buy my Christmas gift. I was just fine with knowing exactly what was inside that gift under the tree with my name on it. All he had to do was pick it up by following my directions, and all would be well. He was happy and relieved that I would get something I really wanted, and I looked forward to opening it-both of us rested easy. In my opinion, surprises can be overrated.
I thought about our unconventional gift giving practices recently while teaching the story of Creation at AWANA's.
God called it good. And then He rested. There was no fretting over what He had produced. No wondering if the people He made it for would like it or accept it or if they would be critical. He did His best and then He was satisfied with the work of His hands.
I’ve spent the last 5 weeks teaching from the book of Genesis to a group of 4 year olds. It’s a story I heard from the time I was their age and yet I never before considered, until now, how God felt about what He had created nor had I reflected much on what He didn’t say about the end result.
He didn’t hang the stars, stock the oceans with fish, make every variety of sweet fruit, fashion the mane of the lion, breathe life into the rib of a man to craft a womanly Eve, and then wonder if it was going to be okay or what His creatures would think about it.
It’s a deep contrast. All these talented and creative people around me tripping over their insecurities-made in the image of God, every gift they have to produce something beautiful for God’s glory, and then a rabid fear that it might not be well received or appreciated-as if it had anything to do with them in the first place. As if it was really for anyone else but for God.
But the ones who relish the process, praise God for the abilities and the final product, and then offer it as a cherished gift, we label “proud”. But it’s not prideful to agree with God that He is the Giver and what He has done is “good”-even when He uses our hands and minds to do it.
Has the Gifter made you the eye of the body or the feet? Are you the one who He blessed to become the heart or the mouth? Do you think that just because you are an inch of a toe that you are small and therefore unimportant when in fact your amputation would cripple us all?
It’s not about you. It’s about worship. It’s about recognizing God’s ability.
When you embrace your gifts and then do the good God gave you to do today, call it good, and rest easy in what He has done through you, you honor Him.
Let’s never forget that our audience is ONE.
That’s the central purpose of your life-to love God and to honor Him and to love people more than yourself. Love people enough to offer what you have been led to do or create, and then love God by calling it “good” by believing that He did it, not you.
Offer your creativity in your home, your work, and your everyday life as the gift it is to the One who hand-picked it for Himself for you to wrap and give back. He chose the gift in the first place, like the woman who wraps her own coat and puts “from your husband” on the glittery label to open on Christmas morning. There is no fear that it won’t be the right one, or the perfect fit because the one who receives is the one who gave in the first place.
Rest in His goodness. Rest your mind, your heart, your need for others’ approval. The most valuable audience already approves because of Who He is, not who we are. Let’s not suggest that something is not good enough lest we dare suggest that God could ever fail. Praise Him for making you fearfully and wonderfully, the great sufficiency of Christ played out in your offering.
That every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:13
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God”. Ecclesiastes 5:19
I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. I Corinthians 7:7