"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10 NIV
"Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help." The Message
I've been thinking about the above scripture a lot lately. If we were to read it correctly then we would know that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US has gifts (strengths, talents, passions) that have been given to us from God. ALL OF US, not just the ones who think they do, not only the people who are aware of those gifts, but all 6.79 billion of us. AND, get this...not only the people who believe in God! God made all of us whether we believe in Him or follow Him or not, and He made us not for ourselves, not only for His good pleasure because He loves us, but because He loves it when we love each other. When we love each other, when we walk with confidence in the gifts that He knit into us from the dawn of time, it's not because we are a big deal, but because HE IS A BIG DEAL! Yes, we are big deals because He made us, but the reason He wants us to love each other and not judge each other is because when we do, we are spreading around His grace.
Satan, or the devil, is the most jealous being in the Universe! He was the first cast out of God's presence and ever since has been a miserable cur. He couldn't stand that God beautifully and intricately designed man from a speck of dust and breathed life into him and then into woman. And, since then he's been trying to distract our hearts from the Ultimate Love Experience between God and human. He'll do whatever it takes, stooping to the lowest of lows, deviously scheming ways to distract, discourage, and harden our hearts. (If you don't believe me, read the book of Job...) He'll candy coat lies that appear truthful and enticing, but of course, that we won't necessarily recognize, to lead us even one degree in the wrong direction. And one way he does it is through jealousy...
Jealousy is when we look at other peoples' strengths, possessions, gifts, talents, and are intolerant, hostile or vigilant toward what it is they possess. Jealousy stirs up discontent. Eve didn't know she was 'missing out' on anything in the Garden until the devil stirred up discontent in her heart that there was more that she could not see. Jealousy stirs up selfishness. Adam and Eve weren't selfish until they started casting the blame on the other for who led who astray. Prior to that, they were a team. They both had strengths and gifts that balanced the other, but they worked in harmony because they weren't gifts to be coveted but mutually enjoyed.
Until we ALL start appreciating the gifts in one another, seeing that each one of us has been given these gifts, NOT TO BOAST or FOR OUR OWN GAIN, but because God is really cool, He's good and generous and He has given us gifts to spread His grace...well, not until then will we really be able to see how HUGE, and BEAUTIFUL and AH-MAZE-ING God is for all 6.79 billion of us.
Just some thoughts on my heart this beautiful Monday morning as I figure out how to love others, and myself, the good and the 'unlovely'...