Gifts from above are to be used for the things above.
So what exactly does that mean?
That they are not to be used for our own comfort and satisfaction namely.
Here’s an example. If I had a brain for biology, say, and a passion for science I might go in to be a doctor. Seven years of schooling, and seven years of financial stress might get me a private practice. Which might ‘entitle’ me to keep some patients waiting unreasonable lengths of time or to purchase only top of the line brand names for my comfort and ease.
When we forget it was God who gave us the brain for biology in the first place, the desire and means to pursue it, and the ability to achieve it, we are apt to become disillusioned, unsatisfied and unfulfilled when we get to our end goal. But when we use our talents for the comfort and success of others (or to build up his kingdom using church words) not only will we be abundantly fulfilled, there will be a satisfaction unlike anything.
For me it was creativity. I went to graphics and printing college in the 80’s but did a whole host of other things looking for my bend.
So in my 20s I both worked for a newspaper and hotel pub. It was a game I used to play with myself about how I wanted to be treated that day as to what I did for a living. I answered barmaid when I wanted to be treated like a garden-variety human being and I answered graphic designer when I wanted a little more respect, importance, and be taken more seriously. I marvelled at people’s reaction, it was that stark.
In my 40s I gave up printing and graphics altogether to work in social services and do art on the side. (With claw marks I might add. It was only when printing doors sealed shut and the social services opportunities fell open at my feet did I switch.)
And in hindsight of a 30-year combined career it was the small ‘unimportant’ stuff that stood out as making a real difference, that I feel most proud of today.
Facilitating community programs in the neighborhood house and tutoring literacy to an individual trumped, by far, the high-powered marketing firms and glowing name-dropping references letters I worked so hard for. My bank account certainly had more zeros before the decimal point than the social services work but there really was no comparison.
And those people programs used every ounce of my creativity. For instance I ran a special needs drop-in social program for seven years. Those participants were the most cheerful, enthusiastic group I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Whether it was the MASH barbecue (with five Radars, four Hot Lips Hoolihans, and three Three Hawkeyes. Every year had a different theme), art projects or our homemade Wheel of Fortune made from a box fan, the group of young adults were in there with bells and whistles. We built a real community of care, concern and love for one another. The least of which I expected or appreciated at the time.
And those are the eternal gifts that last. That indeed build the kingdom of heaven here on earth, where moth, nor rust, nor thief can not take away. That deeply satisfy, feed and will pay dividends for eternity.
So in the end I found out the hard way. Our gifts are not for our enrichment at all. But if we use them for other people’s benefit, we get the by-product of purpose and fulfilment.
A better way of saying ’enriched’.