Not Your Gift
A Kindred Story by Ashlee Hafner
The gift giving season is upon us. I can’t lie — I love gifts. I love giving gifts, I love receiving gifts, I love everything that emcompasses the word “gift”. A gift is something given willingly to someone without payment. Even little kids who haven’t been little angels the entire year, usually receive a gift at Christmas...even if they don’t necessarily deserve it.
Just like parents that want to give their children presents, we have a Heavenly Father that gives us gifts- spiritual gifts. These gifts, however, are not for ourselves. In fact, 1 Peter 4:10 says, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another (NLT).”
Use them well to serve one another.
The word serve tells me that gifts that are given to me by my Heavenly Father are not for me. They are for others, not for our own pleasure.
I was talking with a friend recently and we were discussing spiritual gifts. Through our conversation, God began to show me how dangerous it is when we start to believe the gifts we have been given are “ours.” The danger comes when we confuse who our gifts are from and who they are for. When we start believing that our gifts are for our own benefit or gain, we become susceptible to pride. It is easy for us to begin living in a false reality that the gifts we are given, and what may come from them, are by our own merit.
Pride. A slippery slope. “Pride precedes destruction; an arrogant spirit gives way to a nasty fall (Proverbs 16:18, VOICE).”
When we allow ourselves to take credit for the gifts that are given by our Father, pride is inevitable. Where there is pride, a fall is sure to follow.
However, this holiday season, as you give the gifts you have chosen for those you love, let us remember:
“A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, NLT).”