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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gifts That Shine

Photo Credit:  GospelMessage from
Has anyone ever told you that you have a gift?  If you think back a week, a month, a year ago…or even just today, someone has probably told you that you have a gift.  If not, then I’m here to tell you that YOU have one!  You do.

Each of us has been blessed with some special sort of giftedness that God wants us to freely share with others.  Since all the gifts we have are from Him; He wants them to be shared.  He didn’t give them to us to store away and keep hidden.  He loves to see gifts that shine.  He adores watching our souls light up when we take the time to share our gifts.

I’ve written about God-given gifts many times before, but sometimes I need a gentle reminder that we’re called to share these gifts of ours.  I can be used as an instrument.  You can be used as an instrument.  Even with our failures, weaknesses, or feelings of unworthiness…God loves us, wants us, and needs us.  He does.  He really does.  Maybe you needed the reminder too?

For starters, each of us has the ability to make a difference in someone’s day, which can be a genuine gift to someone desperately needing it.  (We can’t possibly know what everyone is going through because everyone has a story…)  We may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the way God is working through us as we use our gifts.  But, more often than not, we touch someone’s life and may never know it while on this earth.

A friend from church copied a beautiful poem down on a tiny piece of paper and gave it to me the other day.  The poem read:
Faith is holding on to life when all around is pain.  Faith is seeing rainbows when the sky is full of rain.  Faith is reaching out to God when you are filled with fear.  Faith is taking someone’s hand and feeling God is near.  Faith is walking in the dark and looking for the light.  Faith is knowing God is love and trusting in His might.  Faith is showing you believe and that you truly care.  Faith is searching for the Lord and finding Him in prayer!

A woman named Hope C. Oberhelman wrote it.  Who is Hope?  I’d honestly never heard of her before my friend gave me the poem, so I went searching online to see what I could find.  Hope passed away on August 11, 2010 at the age of 84 in Lubbock, Texas.  She was a creative person who wrote many inspirational poems, worked with migrants in Michigan and Minnesota, and was a professor of Spanish at Texas Tech University.  She taught English and Spanish to people in Lubbock and did volunteer work in minority regions of the city.  Her life was dedicated to the service of other people.

My point is that Hope used her giftedness.  Here is someone I’d never met, but have been inspired by today because she used her gift of writing poems.  I loved reading her reflections about faith.  We can’t possibly know who will be affected by our giftedness and that’s what I think is amazing.  I encourage you to use your gifts, even when you don’t know who may be inspired by them…ESPECIALLY when you don’t know who will be inspired by them.

I also love the gift of laughter.  Honestly, I think it’s one of the most amazing gifts there is.  It’s free.  It fills us with joy and happiness.  It’s healthy exercise.  It makes our heart dance.  My buddy over at Mikey’s Funnies shares the gift of laughter with thousands of folks in his daily e-mail.  Here’s one you might enjoy as much as I did:

Three sisters, ages 92, 94, and 96, live in a house together.  One night the 96-year-old draws a bath.  She puts her foot in and pauses.  She yells to the other sisters, "Was I getting in or out of the bath?"  The 94-year-old yells back, "I don't know.  I'll come up and see."  She starts up the stairs and pauses. "Was I going up the stairs or down?"

The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea, listening to her sisters. She shakes her head and says, "I sure hope I never get that forgetful," as she knocked on her wooden table for good measure.  She then yells, "I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door."

I’m still giggling over here.  Hopefully, you are too.  If you are chuckling, you just might have added some days to your life, or at the very least…some life to your days!  Hee hee!

Sometimes our gifts we share are incredibly unique.  Someone who has inspired me and probably doesn’t know it is Trey Ganem and the team over at Trey Ganem Designs.  Their motto is “Letting Souls Shine.”

Who is Trey Ganem?  I’m pretty sure that I’ve never met him face to face and yet, I’ve been touched by the one-of-a-kind way that he is using his God-given gifts.  Per his website, Trey Ganem is adding life to the funeral world with a dream that started 22 years ago.  While working as a hunting guide and providing taxidermy services out of the garage of his home in Victoria, Texas, Trey thought about his funeral - not about who would be there or what they would say, but about what his casket would look like.  He thought about that plain metal box and knew he wanted more.  He imagined a casket customized to represent his life and thought about something 'outside the box'.  He asked himself, "What would my casket look like?  What could I do to really make it represent my life?" 

Becky Lefferts writes, “When you hear people refer to what Trey Ganem does as 'Ganem's Gift', you're probably thinking it's just custom caskets, right?  If you have ever been to our showroom, seen this gift, felt this gift, or experienced it, you know it's more.  To Trey, this gift is simple and easy because it's something he does everyday.  It's the simple gift of prayer.  Since the beginning of Trey Ganem Designs, there has not been one single casket that has left his hands that he did not pray over.  The spiritual connection he has with each design is indescribable.  It's untouchable, yet tangible.”

When looking at all of the pictures on his website, it’s obvious that the work done at Trey Ganem Designs truly comes from the soul.  Trey is using his magnificent artistic abilities to bring comfort to those who have suffered a loss.  What a deeply personal way to use your gifts!  Because funerals are so difficult for me (to put it mildly), it amazes me even more that Trey is reaching out to grieving families in such a prayerful, soulful, loving, and incredibly special way.  Wow.  Keep on keepin’ on, Trey Ganem!  Surely God is smiling because of how you’re using your giftedness!

This short tale from Mikey’s Funnies also really spoke to me today in regard to using our gifts:
A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23.  She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.  Little Rick was excited about the task, but he just couldn't remember the Psalm.  After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.

On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous.  When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know."

Oh, how profound is this little story?!  Sometimes we question how we are to use our gifts.  Sometimes we go back and forth in our minds and we don’t think God could possibly use us as an instrument.  Sometimes we want all the answers before we share our gifts.  However, I think that little Ricky is on to something.  “The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.”  Ohhh – I LOVE that!  God loves us.  He wants us to share our gifts.  We don’t have to figure it all out first.  Let’s ask God to help us find and use our gifts.  If we do, our gifts will certainly become gifts that shine!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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