10 Sep Sermon Snap Shot September 8
Now, re-envision that same pile of treasure. But rather than it gleaming and shining brightly, picture it being covered with dust and cobwebs as if it had been purposefully locked away in a vault for years. How many of us treat God’s gifts like this? Rather than putting our gifts to work, we choose instead to lock them up for safe-keeping, to keep them to ourselves. But why? Are we selfish? On average, I don’t think so.
I do think we are often guilty of not putting our gifts to work because we’re scared.
We’re scared we might run out one day.
We’re scared we might fail when we put these gifts to use.
We’re scared we might be taken advantage of.
We’re scared we might embarrass ourselves.
Mrs. Nesbit, my 7th grade teacher at Harbor View Middle School on James Island, approached me one day in the hall. “Lane, I’d like for you to participate in an upcoming oratorical contest.” I thought to myself, “What does ‘oratorical’ even mean?” She went on to explain that this was something that the local Optimist Club sponsored each year, and that she thought I would do a good job. So I agreed, mainly because I had a crush on Mrs. Nesbit.
So I wrote my speech, and I practiced and practiced and practiced. I auditioned in front of Mrs. Nesbit a few times. And when the night of the contest finally arrived, I came in third place. Not bad, right? Of course, there were only 3 people participating!
Looking back, I was scared out of my mind the night I had to deliver that speech. But Mrs. Nesbit – like all good teachers – saw something in me that I didn’t even think was there. She saw that I had a gift, and without her encouragement I may have never discovered it. And yes, that 3rd place, Olympic-sized bronze medal was a source of pride for years!
Friends, the Christian life begins to take shape when we realize that we have been gifted by God, and the fulfilled life talked about by Jesus begins when we put those gifts into service of God, one another, our neighbor and the world.
Don’t be scared to make use of the treasure that God has given to you. Don’t lock it up and hide it from the world. Open up that vault, dust off the cobwebs and share your God-given gifts with the world. I have no doubt that you will be a blessing to others when you do so, and I have no doubt that God will bless you even more in the process.
From yesterday’s messaged based on I Corinthians 12:1-27, “The ABCs of Faith…and Life: “G” is for “Gifted”
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC