This little side journey has to do with the fact that lasting change begins inside us
We can make all the resolutions we want that will fall by the wayside in weeks to come if we do not first deal with what’s in us.
Unpacking My Suitcase—The Good Stuff First
God has gifted me, has packed in my suitcase, wonderful things for me. They are His gifts, I did not create them or work them up. I have an opportunity to develop them, but still they are His gift. These gifts are not just to me but through me. They are for serving others. There is no room for jealousy of other’s gifts or comparisons. God has gifted me purposefully with everything I need to be who He wants me to be and to do what He wants me to do. I am not really an owner of the gifts because I belong to the One gifting me. All I am, all I have is His. I am a steward, a manger of my gifts. He has placed me here, at this time. Whether or not I appreciate the gifts of the parents I have, the family I was born into, the places I have lived, the times I live in, or any of the circumstances of my life, every part of my life has been given to me as an opportunity. If I will allow Him, He will use even the worst of my life for good.
Romans 8:28 does not say all things ARE good but all things work together for good. Romans 8:28 is not for everybody, it can be, but it isn’t. Romans 8:28 is for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Who gets to decide if everything in my life will work together for good? I do. I am can set my heart on God and hear His call to His purpose for my life.
He has given me time—minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. The number of my days is written in His book. How will I unwrap my days? Each of us have the same number of hours in our day. Some of us simply make better use of our time. I want to be productive, I want to work smarter, not harder. It isn’t about being involved in a mad flurry of activity all the time. God has given us a rhythm of work, play, and rest.
He has given me a body. This body I have is created to be His Temple. It is a part of my stewardship to take care of my body. I have a responsibility to God to make sure I eat appropriately, maintain strength by keeping muscles and joints functioning through use (aka exercise), and that I rest regularly. I have often heard the comparison to the Flight Attendant’s announcement at the beginning of a flight. If the oxygen masks drop down we are to put on our mask first before attempting to help anyone we are responsible for. The reason: if we do not put on our mask first, we may not be able to help them put on their mask either. If you do not give yourself, not obsessive, not neglectful, but reasonable care you will not be able to give others the care they need.
He have given me a specific skill set, areas where I am able to excel. I am dependent upon Him for these gifts. Again, they are not just to me but through me to others. Every misused gift is a gift out of balance. There are people who are so self involved that they have little love for others. There are people who are so obsessively other focused that they are out of balance. Then there are people who love God, with all their strength, all their soul, and all their heart (body, soul, spirit) and because of the love flowing between them and God, they are able to love their neighbors in balance with loving themselves.
I am God’s unique creation. I am purposefully created by God. He has a plan for my life. I am to be a demonstration to the people in my world of His love, grace, and mercy. I am to share the gift of myself, my time, my talents and abilities, with the people He has placed me among. I am to receive what I have with gratitude from His hands. I am to honor, to show respect, to all people I encounter, based not on the worth I perceive them as having but on their intrinsic value as other unique creations of my Father. I am to manage, to be a steward of all I am and have, in ways that honor God.
These are some of the gifts in the suitcase called me. You have one uniquely crafted for you.
Next we will be talking about some of the stuff we hidden in the corners of our suitcase, thinking it won’t show. It’s stinky stuff and God and others know it’s there.