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You get a Gift!

Oprah’s favorite things… when I say that phrase, does it get you excited? Do your eyes light up with childlike glee? It does for me. Because it was the only time I really wanted to be an audience member on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Every year, she would spend an entire show sharing what products she absolutely loved (or was paid to love by corporate backers, lets be honest). What was exciting, though, was that everyone in the audience went home with each of those items.

It reached a whole new level though in 2004. More than any interview she did, this became her signature moment as the greatest talk-show host of all time (don’t come at me). She revealed that one of her favorite things that year was a Pontiac G6 sedan, and only one lucky person would be receiving it. To decide the winner, tiny boxes were handed to every person in the audience, and the person with a car key in his or her box got the car. You can feel the tension and excitement in the room. Who was going to get it?

“3… 2… 1… Open your boxes!” Frantic unwrapping. A long pause. Suddenly someone screams. And then another. And another. Multiple winners. Then Oprah lets out those famous words. “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!” Everybody gets a car! You can watch the whole thing here. What made it even better was this was a prescreened audience of people who all needed a car. I love it.

When we talk about God being crazy generous, this is how I envision it sometimes. Only God did it way better. He didn’t just give us all the same sedan we then had to pay taxes on (a sneaky downside to the whole endeavor). He gave each of us a wide variety of free gifts. Things you might not even recognize as special.

And why did he do this? Not just for ourselves, but to bless other people as well. In Genesis, God speaks to Abraham of a covenant he is going to establish with him, that he is going to make him a great nation. And why did he do this? 

  • “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:2-3

Paul tells us the same thing in 2 Corinthians.

  • “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:8-11

Peter also reiterates the message of blessings being multiplied when he says “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). I love the phrase that radio host and financial expert Dave Ramsey uses, “We are blessed to be a blessing.”

So today I want you to take inventory of the gifts you have, the blessings, and begin to think about ways you bless other people with them. Here’s some areas to think about.

#1 TIME

We all get the same amount of time, and contrary to what you might think, you control this. When you say “I don’t have the time” it’s because in reality you’ve already said “yes” to other things you decided were more important. “Finding time” is a misnomer. You don’t find it; You fill it. A lot of it for good reason, I’m sure. But to be generous with our time requires saying “no” to other things that try to quickly fill our calendars.

#2 TALENT

I believe each of us are “good at” something. Solving problems. Making people laugh. Styling furniture or people. Being a good listener or telling other people the truth. You don’t need to be “best-in-the-world” at it. Sometimes it’s just that you like doing it more than someone else. I can do my taxes, but, for the sake of my sanity and my marriage, would much rather have my accountant do it. What are you good at that can help someone else?

#3 RESOURCES

Thought I was going to say “treasure” weren’t you? I’ve heard a lot of pastors say these first three together (“Time, Talent, Treasure”), but I think it’s incomplete. Money, of course, is what most people think of first when it comes to being generous. Resources can also be a truck, boat, land, house. Access can even be a resource, like the computer lab I had unlimited access to in High School where I learned to edit. Resources mean anything that others value you can lend or giveaway.

#4 SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Apparently, the Holy Spirit is doing more than coming and going during people’s worship sets on Sunday mornings. He really lives inside of us, and there’s an empowering that happens, which we call “Spiritual Gifts.” Something you can do now with His power that you couldn’t do before. There is no singular exhaustive list, because every instance of it is different. So here are the major scriptures to go peruse and see if there is one spiritual gift that you can identify showing up in your life, or maybe a friend or mentor has said to you before, “I think you have this gift.”

  • 1 Corinthians 12: Administration, Apostle, Discernment, Faith, Healings, Helps, Knowledge, Miracles, Prophecy, Teaching, Tongues, Interpretation.
  • Romans 12: Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Prophecy, Serving, Teaching.
  • Ephesians 4: Apostle, Evangelism, Pastor, Prophecy, Teaching
  • 1 Peter 4: Serving, Speaking.

There are others, including celibacy or singleness, but this is a good place to start.

#5 EXPERIENCE

What you’ve made a career for 5, 10, 30 years is experience someone else needs. If you’ve done it for that long, odds are you are really good at it, which would bless someone else. If I’m going through something really challenging, one of the best things I look for is someone whose gone through it too. I’ve heard of countless people who go through disease, whether themselves or with a family member, and in response join or create ministries dedicated to helping other people through that. What seemed like a curse became a blessing to the next person dealing with it, and can be cathartic for healing from the pain themselves. So what experience do you have that would benefit someone else? On a similar note…

#6 TESTIMONY

Everyone is on a spiritual journey, and you don’t need a crazy crack-to-Christ narrative to be a light to the world. God works through ordinary and extraordinary stories. Sharing that journey, much like experience, can be the catalyst for someone taking the next step to Jesus. Your testimony is a gift that benefits other people too.

So…

  • Time
  • Talent
  • Resources
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Experience
  • Testimony

It’d be better if they all started with the letter “t” or made a cool acronym, but all of these are gifts from God. And the reason He gave them to us is for us to be a blessing to someone else. Take some time right now to write them all out. See what patterns emerge that you could lean into.

 Because you didn’t just win a car. You have Gifts!

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