Freedom Friday: What I Have, I Give

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” Acts 3:6

I’ve always loved the story of Peter, John, and the man lame from birth at the temple gate called Beautiful. At a campus ministry training event in 2001, I chose it as my passage from which to lead a Bible study. This week, I needed to lead a class in a 5-minute devotional. Since the topic of the class is the book of Acts, this passage seemed a natural choice.

One thing I love about Scripture is how it can speak different things to you depending on where you are and what you need. I originally loved this passage because I loved the story of healing. Oh, how I wanted to see God work in that way in my life! I also love the change in Peter after receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But what it spoke to me this week was very different.

“The grass is always greener” mentality infiltrates so many areas of my life. I wish I had her house, his fame, her job, or his joy. But I found lately that envy has taken root in a surprising area of my life.

Anyone who knows me for 10 minutes knows I’m a Christian. I love Jesus, and because of that, I talk about Him. He naturally comes up in conversation. And yet, I have never actually watched anyone become a Christian.

Whenever I take those spiritual gift tests, no matter what the variety, the gift of evangelist/evangelism never even makes the top 10. Teacher? Yes. Exhorter? Yes. Compassion, music, encouragement? Yes. Evangelism? Never.

Do I sometimes feel bad about this? Yes, to be honest. In fact, 2 weeks ago in class, I asked my pastor if he thought everyone has the gift of evangelism. The answer was a bit complicated, and not the point of this post. As I read Acts 3 again this week and reflected on that discussion, this came to mind:

Thou shalt not cover thy neighbor’s gifts.

I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s writings concerning the body.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

Just as He wanted them to be.

I cannot give what I do not have, but I still have a lot to give. I may never be gifted at evangelism, and I’m OK with that. Instead of being envious of the skills of others, I will continue to declare as Peter declared, “What I do have, I give.”

I wrote a song some years ago called “You.” You can hear a rough recording:

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Some lines from the song are particularly relevant.

I know there are songs to be sung,
And there are wars to be won
And there are wrongs to be undone

I know there are songs to be sung, 
And there are wars to be won 
And there are wrongs to be undone 

And I don’t have that much to give
But there’s no other way to live

*****

God, I do not have that much to give – but I know that living a surrendered life is the only way to truly live for You. And so what I do have, I give.

Freedom Friday: The Battle for Your Gifts

There is a battle raging.

It’s a battle for your gifts.

It’s a battle for the unique things you have to offer the world.

We hosted a guest worship team at church a few months ago. The worship leader shared something that I’ve been thinking about since then:

“The enemy wants to destroy the call on our lives.”

Oh, friends, how I’ve felt this intimately over the past few months.

I was certain 2012 would be “the year of the book.”

Then, I was positive that it would be done by my 2013 birthday (almost 4 months ago now).

I have lots of excuses.

As I try to grieve the loss of my father in the midst of life carrying on…

As I fill out death-related paperwork that I’ve put off until the last minute…

As I once again try and stuff my emotions with food (something I’m quite good at, apparently)…

And God is His faithfulness keeps poking me, every month or so.

You know, my love, I still want you to finish that book.

Sometimes He’s not so gentle. In fact, He told me in December (yes, almost 9 months ago) to get over myself because the book isn’t really about me anyway. It’s about Him. It’s not about how awesome I am (because Lord literally knows that apart from Him – yeah, not much to impress anything); it’s about how awesome He is.

Well, the book is at the copy editor, and all I have left to do is write the back cover.

It has been a battle.

God has given you something unique, something particular that He wants you to offer to the world.

What is stopping you? The enemy? The negative self-talk? All the excuses about why we’ll do it later?

Here’s the thing about your gifts: they’re not for you anyway.

You may not think you have much to offer. Well, that’s a lie. That is where the battle rages because that’s exactly the position Satan wants you to stay in. Satan easily convinces us that we can’t make an impact and thus paralyzes us from doing the little (or lot) that we can do.

It’s time to declare war on the lies you believe.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

What is standing in the way of using your gifts today? What can you do today as a step of obedience toward God and what He might be calling you to do?