Our guest speaker, the Rev. Jimmie Bratcher, shared a moving story today at church that blessed my heart. It focused on “giving your gift.” His message was based on Proverbs 18:16 and offered the original definition of “gift”: that which you presently have to give away. I share the story with hopes that you, too, will be moved by its simple truth. It is a true story and one you may find inspiring:
The woman had heard the message before. “Do what you can to bless someone else and you will get a blessing in return.” Well, she didn’t really believe it. She discounted the worth of anything she had to offer. She figured, as do many of us, that other people’s gifts were much more valuable. She gave – or frankly, didn’t give – because of that belief. But she had heard the message again with a new spin and decided, this time, to believe.
When she heard about the death of her neighbor’s mother, her first thought was, “There is nothing I can do”. Then she remembered the message – just give what you have at hand. She wondered what she had to give. What was she good at? Aha, baking. So, resisting her normal inclinations, she considered the loaf of bread she had just baked and with renewed faith, and some apprehension, she delivered it to her neighbor.
When the neighbor opened the door, the loving woman spoke softly, “I wanted to do something to help at this hard time, so I baked you a loaf of bread.” At those simple words, the neighbor broke into tears. The helpful woman stood patiently waiting for the grieving neighbor to collect herself. Gaining control of her emotions, the neighbor thanked the woman and said, “This loaf of bread reminds me of my mom who just died and I regret she never taught me how to bake bread.” The woman replied, “May I teach you?”
The woman in the story took a risk. She dared think that she had something of value to give based on her new understanding of “gift.” As she gave what she had, for the glory of the Lord and in love for her neighbor, doors opened wide for her to make a wonderful, possibly eternal, difference in another person’s life. A difference that she could never have dreamed existed. “Don’t devalue your gift,” Rev. Bratcher encouraged those in attendance. Each of our gifts are unique and God orchestrates them within our lives and times in a way that only He can. We need to move forward in faith and just give. We can’t control the outcome, but we can sow in faith knowing God can use anything we plant in His name to His glory.
What gift do you have to offer to someone? Does the original definition of gift (that which you presently have to give away) make it easier to see its worth?