I spent an hour watching the original "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" movie with my wife and boys a few nights ago. I know it's a classic but, somehow, I had never seen it before.
Early in the movie, the elves made all sorts of incredible toys in Santa's workshop but, because of the Winter Warlock who lived on a nearby mountain, they decided to just throw them in the front yard. Rather than risk the potential pain and danger of delivering their toys to the sad children in Sombertown, these elves were content to create a yard full of useless lawn ornaments. Attempting to cross the mountain--even for something good--was just too big of a risk.
Over the past few days I've been wondering how often I turn my God-given gifts and talents into pointless Christian lawn art? I've been asking why I am content to live my life in the "faith bubble" that I've created for myself? Maybe it's because I'm afraid of failure. Or rejection. Or pain. Or embarrassment. Maybe it's because I don't want to leave what's comfortable. Or safe. Or popular. Or traditional. Maybe it's because I'm selfish. Or ignorant. Or lost. Or blind.
Regardless, I'm guilty. And I'm guessing that you probably are too. At least some of the time.
Is there a co-worker you've been led to share your faith with?
Is there a ministry at church that you've been called to work with?
Is there a homeless person you've been inspired to talk to?
Is there a book you've been equipped to write?
Is there a child you've been asked to foster?
Is there a team you've been told to lead?
Is there a mountain you've been challenged to cross?
It's a bit counter-intuitive, but the gifts that God has given to you and me were not meant exclusively for us. They were meant to be given away--to be shared--even when there's fear and trembling and maybe even a little sweat involved. Romans 12:6-8 says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."
God has given each of us specific talents and abilities and callings and passions and desires. The question is, in the face of even the slightest resistance, what are we going to do with them? Are we going to selflessly give these gifts away or carelessly throw them on the front lawn?