Open the Box
a fresh flowers original
copyright 2007, lani wiens
My husband is a giver. He loves giving gifts, it thrills him to no end. So when we got our first big payment for one of our crops he decided to do a little shopping and brought home presents for the kids, they were thrilled, too. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this merriment we had a little problem happening. It is not a new problem, it's been going on for awhile and we have had to work hard to change the course of things around here.
Our youngest son tends to take over his older brothers' stuff. He is particularly fond of whatever Samuel has, possibly because Samuel is a little softer than the bigger boys. Sasha has the mindset that if he likes it, he decides it is his and nothing you say will change his mind. At one point Samuel had saved up enough money to buy a train set he'd been wanting. When he got it, Sasha took over the train set. We tried everything we could to loosen his grip but eventually Samuel just gave up and decided he didn't want the set any more. It made us sad to see him abandon something he had worked so hard for. We didn't want to see that happen again.
Fast forward to this week. Sasha has received a very cool drum set and Samuel has received a little keyboard with a mike stand and everything. Everyone is happy for a little while until Sasha starts venturing too near Samuel's keyboard. We were curious to see what would happen, would history repeat itself? Samuel decided not to take any chances. As soon as he saw Sasha anywhere near his keyboard, he would stop playing and pack it into the box or he would pick the whole thing up and go to a different part of the house until Sasha came near again, then he would repeat the procedure. We tried to talk him out of continually packing it up but the fear of loss was too great to overcome. We were greatly saddened by his actions. He could not enjoy his gift for fear of his brother's interference.
This incident reminded of times in my own life and people I know who have been given a gift by the Lord Jesus Christ. They've been hurt because of other people's misuse of their gift and so they get a little shy about taking it out of the box and letting it be seen or enjoyed by others. The fear of getting hurt again is so great that they keep the gift hidden away. The gift remains in good condition but it never sees the light of day, it is useless. I am certain that our heavenly Father is greatly saddened when this happens just as we were.
As we encouraged Samuel to take his gift out and enjoy it, we also assured him that we would do everything we could to make sure Sasha did not abuse it. At first he wasn't so sure that he could trust us, and rightly so, his past experience indicated that perhaps our restrictions on Sasha's behaviour would prove to be fruitless. He watched us impose restrictions regarding the use of the other children's instruments. We established a rule that if one child was caught using another child's instrument without permission their own instrument would be confiscated. Slowly, Samuel let his gift out of the box. Not only did he begin to enjoy his gift and take part in the 'family band', he allowed his baby sister to enjoy his gift, too. We all took great delight in watching Elizabeth sing into his little microphone and dance to the music.
Can I encourage you today to try again? Take your dusty box off the shelf and lift the lid. The gift is still there, waiting for you. You may be a little rusty using it but that's okay, it will come back to you. Your heavenly Father will take great delight in seeing you use what He's given you. I pray that there will be those around you that you can trust to protect you from ones who may interfere. Try anyway, it will be worth it. Who knows what unexpected blessing may come to you and to others from your step of obedience. God doesn't give gifts to be hidden away, he wants to be a light on a hill, shining for all to see. Go ahead, use it, shake the dust off and give it a go. There is a great crowd waiting to cheer you on.
Paul's words to Timothy: "Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress." (1 Timothy 4:14, 15)
1 Corinthians 12 gives an excellent perspective on gifts given by the Lord for the good of the body of Christ, sit there awhile and let the Spirit minister to your spirit then open your box and let the gift out.