This guest post was written by a dear friend and ministry partner of mine, Brenda McClure. She’s agreed to come alongside me this year and regularly write guest posts for us! Isn’t that awesome? Did you know you could guest post, too? If you have an idea or would like to submit a post, send it to email@example.com.
I know this first part will sound like I am repeating myself….actually I am, so bear with me please. When I think of the commandments given in the New Testament, the first one seems pretty simple.
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” – Mark 12:30 (NLT)
Simply put, love God in every way possible. The second one is easy to read: Mark 12:31 (NLT) “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. However, it isn’t as easy to put it into works. How do we love others as ourselves when often we don’t truly love ourselves? I realized that the answer to both, loving ourselves and loving others, go hand in hand.
As I was thinking about this again, I was thinking about one of my favorite books, Gary Chapman’s, The Five Love Languages. My first thoughts were about words, but this time I moved onto gifts…not in the way Mr. Chapman wrote about them, but about our Christian gifts.
We love one another, but do we appreciate each other’s gifts? Are we jealous of our friends’ gifts? Do we try to imitate them, or do we utilize the gifts God has given us?
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.”- 1 Corinthians 12:12 (NLT)
Have you ever been to a church where the “main” cook was average? There were some wonderful cooks who attend there, but one person didn’t want to allow any other “cooks” in the kitchen. It isn’t that the food is bad, but it could be a feast. Our need to control or want to be in charge can lessen the blessings God has intended for everyone.
How do we love other’s gifts, when we have never sought after our own? Or, do we try to do so many things (gifts) that we don’t do any of them well? Have we found our special gift and embraced it without feeling less than someone who we perceive has a more “prominent” gift?
I think we have to love ourselves enough to find out what our gifts are. A couple of years ago, I took a Christian gift evaluation on-line test. As I went over the results of it with a mentor, he looked at me and said, “You didn’t do the test correctly. You lied to give you the outcome you wanted. Brenda, the results of this test aren’t true.” You see, I didn’t tell the truth about my love of music. No, I’m not a world class musician, but I do love music. When I did go back and tell the truth, of course it didn’t tell me to go start a worship band, but it added that to my profile. When you take your gifts test, do you answer to get the results you think you want or do you answer truthfully? God chose our gifts just for us. No one else can do that thing (gift) like we can. A small seed falls into the ground and makes a tree. The smallest gifts can be the most impactful.
Recently a good friend of mine posted on Facebook, “Thankful my thoughts are not God’s thoughts and my plans are not God’s plans.” To be truly thankful for this, we have to take our agenda out of our idea of our gifts. This means we also have to love others with their gifts.
The flip side of this is that we can’t try to get everyone to have our gift. Not everyone wants our gift. If you love music and you are a part of a worship group, you can’t force someone to hone their love of music into a gift of music. The song you sing will feed them without them having to become a singer.
Dear Wonderfully Loving Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the gifts you have entrusted me with. Help me to use them to the best of my ability to further your beautiful kingdom. Help me to love your children’s gifts and receive them into my heart without trying to change or mess with them in any way. Help me to receive the love you want me to receive from others gifts and help me to give to others through my gifts. I ask this through Jesus’ name and blood.
Brenda McClure is a massage therapist and owner of Couples Touch of Love, a ministry seeking to heal marriages through the teaching of biblical touch. Brenda has a heart for seeing relationships healed and brought back to the fullness that God designed them to be.