A bath set in a scent that makes your nose wrinkle. A gift book about graduation. Sweaters that are too boxy, too bright, too blah. You know you’ve got gifts like these stashed somewhere, still pristine in their unused state.
Sure, you smiled to the giver and said, “thank you,” or maybe even sent a note, but did you really appreciate this gift? The word “appreciate” comes from a Latin word that means “to value or prize.”
What about gifts God gives us? Do we value them? Or even recognize them? If you’re storing God’s gifts in the back of your closet, you’re sending Him a pretty strong message of how much you appreciate His blessings.
The greatest gift God has given us is life: a new life through His Son. That new life is different for each of us: God put you exactly where and when you are, and made you exactly how you are, so that you could do good in His Name. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Each of us is a totally distinct piece of workmanship. We each have certain people we can reach, special talents we can draw on, and trying or unique experiences that make us exactly the right person to do those good works God prepared for us.
Realize that you are exactly who God made you to be. Value that. God doesn’t want a thank-you card or lip service; He wants your life, in exchange for the One He gave.
Maybe you don’t think God gave you much in the way of talents. Jesus told a parable about a man who thought he should hold onto the talent his master gave him, instead of using it. Fearful and uncertain, this servant buried his master’s talent in the dirt. When the master returned, was he glad to find this servant had kept his money safe? “Throw out the worthless slave into outer darkness,” the master commanded (Matthew 25:30). Yikes. So being a Christian, valuing the life and the talents God has given each of us, requires risk. Reaching out to a kid who’s struggling, teaching a Bible study, or volunteering your time and energy to help someone; these are all things that demand not just a show of faith, but actions.
You’re a masterpiece, but you’re not the kind that hangs on a wall, and certainly not the kind that should be buried. You are a highly specialized tool with the unique ability to decide for itself whether or not it will do what it was created to do.
Want to show God that you value this life? Use it.