12. What is a “Gift”? (part 1)

You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift—your true self—is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs.

Bill Plotkin – psychologist, author

We are all different.  Our lives are a result of the road we have travelled in life.  

Our upbringing, our education, our interests, our skills, our values, and our experiences are all very different.  We are unique.

Somewhere in that uniqueness is something that is very special to us.  For some it is a skill or talent that we have developed along the way.  For others it is the successful handling of an experience in life, even a painful one.  For others, it is a closely-held value that has made your life meaningful.

In all of these cases, you possess something that others do not have.  You received a gift from God.  Perhaps you were born with it, perhaps you earned it, perhaps you received it by surprise.  

As we learn in 1 John, “God is love.”  Therefore, it is logical that a gift from God comes with love.  

How do we feel when we feel “love”?

We may all experience love in a different way but my guess is that many feel upbeat, energized, joyful, and motivated.  

When we use that gift, we derive great pleasure from using it.  We feel a vitality, which means “life.”  For those who don’t have that same gift, doing that same action can be a painful chore.

For example, some people love public speaking.  They enjoy the challenge, look forward to any opportunity to speak in public, and feel a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment after a speech.

Others would rather have a root canal than give a speech.

Service as Sharing Your Gift

There are nearly 8 billion people on this planet we call home.  Someone somewhere could use your gift to enhance their lives.  They need what you have to offer.

When you share your gift with those who need your gift, you are passing along God’s love.  The love you have so graciously received becomes a vehicle for sharing it with others.  

That is the ultimate service.  That is the way we embody God’s love and compassion.

So the first step in reaching the ultimate service level is to identify your gift.  

For some of us, it may be easy.  You know what you love to do and know how you can do it to benefit the lives of others.  Some of you are doing that right now.

In our own congregation, I think of Emily Strong, Fran Fink, and Mark Aude who have a gift of gardening.  They love to transform a patch of land into the gift of a meal for those who are hungry.  Through the Giving Garden, they give who they are and share God’s love with those in need.  By the way, they are always looking for others to help them in this wonderful service. Click here to sign up to share your joy of gardening to help feed the hungry.

Others of you will struggle in identifying your gift.  Some will feel they have too many gifts and don’t know which is most important.  Some will feel that they have nothing to offer and rarely find God’s love in anything they do.

This reflection is worth the effort.  You are likely to discover the real “you,” your authentic self.  

What do you LOVE to do?

Doug Bate
Service Central