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Blessed in Blessing

Ever watch a dog chase his own tail? The dog goes round and round in circles, chasing that silly tail, all the while never catching what is right there in front of his view. We chase after a lot of things in life - not all of them are really worth chasing. Sometimes we chase stuff that really only serves to bring us grief and disappointment. This chasing is a part of a much deeper issue, though. We lack satisfaction or contentment and therefore, we are chasing after the wind. Contentment is a state of being "at ease" in our mind, soul, and spirit. We don't need activity because we are at rest - we don't 'chase' for the sake of movement, we seek with a purpose. Sometimes ceasing is the best remedy to chasing! Satisfaction really is a sense of being grateful - fulfilled in what we have and who we are.

Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. (I Corinthians 14:1 MSG)

Pursue the right stuff and in turn, the 'right pursuit' will bring us into a place of contentment like nothing else can. It is in the giving of ourselves to the gifts God gives us that we find our greatest place of contentment (fulfillment). Before you tell me you don't have any "gifts" or "talents", let me assure you - you have talents and gifts way beyond your imagining! Too many times, we limit ourselves by the belief we don't possess the "right stuff" to do what it is God is asking us to do. We cannot be obedient, we could never go to the place he directs us, we cannot talk about that to the other individual - the list of excuses we use are quite long. We often don't know the "talent" God may need in a particular moment - but he does. If he places us smack dab in the middle of the need - we must have something he desires to be used to meet the need! In reviewing our "spiritual gifts" we often discount the very "practical gifts" we have been given, such as our talent to balance a set of accounting books, the ability to proof a term paper, the skill to build a shelf, or the awesome ability to make people very welcomed in a new environment.

We somehow think the "spiritual gifts" God is looking for are all these "mystical" gifts like the "word of knowledge" or the "prophesying" of a new revelation to the church. As important as these gifts are, the most important gift we have to offer Christ is ourselves - complete with every "natural talent" we have been given and developed over time. In turn, God takes what we consider "natural" and turns these into something he considers "super-natural". When we are in service with the talents we possess, he is honored! We are to "go after" a life of love as if our "lives depended on it". God leaves no doubt about it - he reminds us our life does indeed depend upon our pursuit of all he has for us. When we are "going after" something, there is a tenacity (a stick-to-it kind of attitude). We don't want to give up without the reward of what we are pursuing. The life of service with this type of tenacious pursuit is what God is looking for from all of us. I wonder just how much we'd be blessed in blessing others with the simple talents we possess? You may be excellent readers - have you ever considered reading to the blind or elderly with failing vision? I know my mother enjoys it when my sister sits lazily by on the sofa, book in hand, and shares the stories from the Reader's Digest with her. You may be able to herd cats - maybe your toddler's church class could use your talent! You might be able to make a mean cup of coffee - perhaps the ladies need a safe-place for a mom's group. Whatever you possess - give it! You might just be surprised at what God can do with the "simplest" of talents!

God really wants us to focus on giving what it is we have - not bemoaning the fact we don't have a particular "gift" to give. In other words, he doesn't want us to focus so much on what we "don't" have as much as we focus on what it is we "do" have. In the giving of ourselves to what it is we recognize as a "talent" or "natural bent" we might have, God can bring forth the "spiritual" blessing of our "gift". Don't make too much of the word "gift" - instead, allow God to use you as "fits" your temperament. Pick up the hammer, drive a few nails, and see what he allows to be built! Wash a few loads of clothes for the friend recovering from surgery and see how blessed she feels with a dresser full of clean jammies and crisp, clean sheets on the bed. You might just be surprised to find in the nail hammering, clothes washing, and bed-making lives are touched! We don't always have to stand up in front of a congregation to be God's instrument of grace - we just have to put grace into action in the very practical ways he directs us. Just sayin!

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