In your hand

“The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff’” (Exodus 4:2 ESV).

Anthropologists and other scientists tell us that the two physiological features that most clearly differentiate human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom are the size (and complexity) of their brains and the unique capabilities of their hands, especially because of the opposing thumbs that only humans possess. These hands allow for the efficient use of inanimate objects (i.e., tools) which almost infinitely extend the power and efficiency of human endeavors. Note that the ability of the hand to grip and use tools is paired with the ability of the brain to invent and adapt their use. Continue reading “In your hand”

Time is of the essence

Our title is but one phrase that emphasizes the importance of timely completion. It comes from the language of contracts and recognizes that delay causes harm.

When it comes to spiritual things, time is of the essence. Delay is dangerous. We are often reminded in Scripture of the brevity of life and the immanence of Christ’s coming. Continue reading “Time is of the essence”

This gift is direly needed in the church

To a church confused about the use of spiritual gifts, the apostle Paul wrote, “But you should be eager for the greater gifts” 1 Corinthians 12.21. And again: “Pursue love and be eager for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy” 1 Corinthians 14.1.

Paul urged them to desire some gifts more than others. He was speaking, of course, of miraculous gifts, such as prophecy. But if saints in the first century could pursue certain gifts, since they were more important than others, it stands to reason that today saints should value certain non-miraculous gifts above others. Continue reading “This gift is direly needed in the church”

Use your gift

You are a unique person. No one else is like you. God made you an individual with characteristics, personality, and tastes that distinguish you from every other human being who lives or has ever lived.

“Identical” twins aren’t. People who know such twins can usually tell them apart from their manner of being. Continue reading “Use your gift”

God’s gift

If you knew the gift of God…” (John 4:10).

Many people are thinking about buying and receiving gifts this time of year. It is admittedly predictable to capitalize on that theme. My mind immediately goes to Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John 4, where he said:

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).

Continue reading “God’s gift”

Are we grateful or entitled?

Entitlement is something we feel we deserve because of who we are. Similar to gossip or lying, it’s something others have. We’re never guilty. Yet, it’s more entrenched than most in America realize.

Comfort is addictive. We’ve had it for years. Food, shelter, security and spending money are ubiquitous. We’ve no reason to expect anything else. Gifts are under the tree, a feast is on the table, decorations sparkle around us. Same as it ever was. Continue reading “Are we grateful or entitled?”

Excuses, excuses

When we catch up with Moses in Exodus 3, forty more years have gone by. Moses is now eighty years old and a shepherd for his father-in-law.

Although Moses seems to have forgotten what he already knew, that God would use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery (see Acts 7:24-25), God had not forgotten. God spoke to Moses from a bush that was burning but not burning up. The message God had for Moses was simple: now was the time for him to go and deliver the Israelites from slavery. Continue reading “Excuses, excuses”

Gifts and talents

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. Continue reading “Gifts and talents”