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I think it was Norman Vincent Peale who reminded us it is always too soon to quit. There are a lot of things we chase after in life, sometimes quitting just short of ever achieving whatever it is we are chasing after. We chase after a lot of things in life, but I have come to the conclusion not all of them are really worth chasing. Sometimes we chase stuff which brings us grief and disappointment - not exactly the best outcome, huh? This chasing is a part of a much deeper issue - we lack satisfaction or contentment, so we 'chase' and 'chase' and 'chase'. Contentment is a state of being "at ease" in our mind, soul, and spirit. We don't need activity because we are already at rest. Sometimes ceasing is the best remedy to chasing! Satisfaction really is that deeper 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)

Today we will look at the importance of pursuing the right stuff - in turn, that pursuit will bring us into a place of contentment like nothing else in this lifetime ever 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 often don't know the "talent" God may need in a particular moment or circumstance - but he does. If he places us smack dab in the middle of the need - we must have something he desires to be used in serving 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 teach tough subjects, or the awesome ability to make people feel very welcomed in a group.

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. 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". We are left with no doubt here - our life depends upon our pursuit of all God 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. A life of service may not seem like much of a 'pursuit', but the results are telling.

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 enjoyed it when my sister sat lazily by on the sofa, book in hand, and shared 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. You may be able to teach - there are hundreds of parents having to work through hybrid school right now with no idea how to do this 'new math'. 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 - like the one someone else is giving already. In other words, he doesn't want us to focus so much on what we "don't" have as much as focus on what it is we "do" have. In the giving of ourselves to what it is we recognize as a "talent", "trained area", or "natural bent" we might have, God can bring forth the "spiritual" blessing of our "gift" as it touches the lives of those around us. Don't make too much of the word "gift" - instead, allow God to use you as the need "fits" your temperament and training. Pick up the hammer, drive a few nails, and see what he allows to be built! You might just be surprised to find in the nail hammering, lives are touched! Just sayin!

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