There is a knock at your door. You go to open it and one of your friends is there dangling a set of keys. He gives you a brand new car. And I’m talkin’ a pimped out, juiced up, leather seats with warmers, sunroof and mini TV screens on the back of each seat car. Not only does He give you the car with no strings attached, he gives you a lifetime pass to the local car wash. There will be no crunched up goldfish crackers or stale chicken nuggets in your car anymore. It will smell of new car and vanilla instead of stale soccer cleats.
Your excitement is overwhelming, contagious even. Your neighbors go crazy with you. They all want to gawk at the inside of your new car. This new gift is going to change your life!
The next morning you get up, drag yourself out of bed, bundle up and walk to the end of your street to take the city bus to work. After a few weeks of this, your friend, who is now your ‘best’ friend, calls. He encourages you to use the car. He gave it to you so you wouldn’t have to take the same old broken down bus to work each day. “This gift is for your enjoyment,” he says.
Slowly you begin to feel comfortable using the car. Soon after you begin driving it to work each day, you sell your old car and let your bus pass expire. Before you know it, you grow accustomed to your new car. You begin to love driving around in it and look for excuses to take it for a spin. You offer to help your friends and drive them everywhere. You are always available to use the car. There is no need to walk when you have the greatest car ever!
Then one day you hear that familiar knock at the door. Excitedly you run to open it. You look forward to a visit with your old friend. You hope he isn’t too disappointed that there are a few door dings in the car in your garage because you’ve done your best to take good care of it.
He says, “I need you. Will you use the car to take me to Alaska?”
Of course, you can’t say no. You get on the phone to alert your employer, you’ll even quit your job if you have to. You load your stuff, even though you have no idea what to bring. You grab some money even though you have no idea how much gas you’ll need to get there or how many days you'll be gone. You grab a map and hope your friend can help you read it. You feel completely unprepared but you just can't disappoint your friend after all he's done for you.
You have to drive your friend wherever he needs to go; he gave you the car you love. You owe him but that is not why you commit to doing this crazy thing. You commit to doing it because you love your friend and he knows the car. He believes the car can make it and so you do too. Or at least you really hope so.
Isn’t this how we should be with our spiritual gifts? We often see spiritual gifts as a confusing thing instead of an exciting present from God. We take test after test to determine what our unique gifts are when we should really be looking at our lives. We should look at what we enjoy doing, what we long to do, what others say we are good at. Those are the gifts we should use to serve God. And by serving God I mean the things we love to do are the vehicle we should use to take God to others. Even to Alaska when He asks.
"God's various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God's Spirit. God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
healing the sick
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when." 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 The Message