Doses of Hope have a way of sneaking up on me and surprising me every single time. When we started out digging into the names that God has for us, I didn’t know where it was going, just that myself and a whole lot of women I know could stand to let those names sink in and know how much He loves us. This week, I was sure that I was going to write about “rescued,” until Hebrews 2 snuck up on me.
“This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” – Hebrews 2:3b-4 (NIV)
And not-so-hidden in there is a truth that I often overlook: God calls us gifted.
How many of us really believe it’s true? And how free would we be if we did?
Here’s the thing about gifts: they don’t come from us, they have nothing to do with how much God loves us, we don’t get to choose them, and (on the same token) we don’t use them to earn God’s love either.
Our gifts are just that – presents from our Lord and Savior. Made alive in us by the Holy Spirit. Given to us because God loves us and given to us to be used.
As I read through Scripture this week I was overwhelmed with just how much God wants us to know we’re gifted and how much our gifts bring glory to Him.
And as we use our gifts, I believe it matters way less to God that enough people notice or applaud, and way more to Him that we are boldly, confidently, unabashedly entering into community with our gifts, finding out who He made us to be, and that in the process we are learning who He is as well.
Which brings us back full circle.
If we don’t know we’re chosen, we don’t know we belong, we don’t know that we’re loved, and we don’t know that we’re blessed, then we’ll find ourselves trying to earn other’s love and probably trying to earn God’s as well (or at least feeling like it’s always hanging by a thread).
We will hide our light under a basket, and in doing so, we’ll miss the deep fellowship with others and communion with God that comes from just being real. We’ll have no idea we’re gifted.
(Jesus speaking) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” – Matthew 5:14-16
(Paul writing to the church at Corinth) “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ… Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it… This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14-18, 25-27 (NLT)
Our gifts, no matter how big or how small, bring glory to God when we use them with the confidence that we are exactly who He says we are: chosen, loved, blessed, and people who belong.
“The only requirement of an artist is this: You must try to love and forgive yourself completely before you create. If you are ashamed of any part of yourself, you will hide the one thing from us we most need to see… Only the forgiven and loved can help others be forgiven and loved. Only the free can free others. Don’t be talented, be free.” – Glennon Doyle Melton, You Don’t Need More Time or Talent