Walking through my vegetable patch in midsummer is like Christmas! The garden is full of nice surprises. It overflows with delicious, fresh, organically grown food. There is no candy on earth that can give more satisfaction than a ripe cherry tomato popped off the vine and right into your mouth, warm from the sun and bursting with flavor!
But we cannot devour every wonderful gift that the garden provides. Many are made into preserves, jams, or pickles and then “re-gifted” to others to enjoy. Sadly, many sit on the kitchen counter and do not get used quickly enough.
There is not much wasted in my kitchen, actually. Most excess food goes to my waist, rather than goes to waste. But in any garden, some perfectly good things go unused. It is part of the natural order. If we and the birds miss a tomato or zucchini, there will be seeds sprouting in the spring for a new crop. The rotting produce feeds the worms, which aerate and fertilize the soil.
Sometimes gifts are meant to be used in a different way than we envision.
A local church created a video about their preaching intern’s “groundbreaking” role. She had much to say about her “gift,” presumably that of being able to preach to mixed audiences.
Her story brought me back to my days in catechism class at the Lutheran church, when I asked Pastor Mazak about becoming a preacher. He told me he didn’t see why I couldn’t. I showed him something I had found in my daily Bible reading. He was then speechless.
“But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet” (1 Timothy 2:12).
That’s when the reality hit me concerning the widespread ignorance of the Bible. It was a crushing realization that there was no one qualified to simply tell me what’s what in the religious realm.
I wanted to preach. But more than that, I wanted to do God’s will. Even as a pre-teen, I could clearly see that there was a pattern for the church, and that men were to be in the lead. At that time, I had no idea why that was. The “pastor” obviously didn’t, either.
The senior minister in the video made a stab at explaining the verse that the Lutheran preacher could not explain. He surmised that it was simply a cultural issue that only applied to the churches at that time. He gave no reason for his explanation, but seemed to think his hearers would simply nod and agree, assuming he had studied the subject for all of us.
I find this alarmingly similar to my childhood denominational leader’s final exhortation. “Just don’t worry about that passage.”
Are we to summarily dismiss plain Bible teaching because it doesn’t fit our own cultural norm? While I will gladly address a roomful of legislators and attorneys about the legality of homeschooling choice, or a conference room full of businessmen, you won’t find me in a church pulpit addressing men and women. Why not?
“For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve” (1 Timothy 2:14).
Without going into an exhaustive study, let it be noted that the reason went all the way back to the creation; not just a small increment of time.
So what of my “gift?” Nothing is wasted in nature, and my gift is not “wasted.” It may be used differently than what I may have wanted, that’s all.
A final thought — does God guarantee that all of our gifts will be fully utilized?