Monday, December 28, 2015

According to the Measure

 But every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:7

She is all the way across the country with the GYC Pre-conference Outreach Mission and selling books door to door in Kentucky. I cannot say I am not a bit nervous about having not just one, but two of my daughters walking down different dark, wet streets by themselves in a strange city so far from home. Of course I pray for and trust in God's protection, but I am also eager for each and every text notification lighting up my phone to let me know that all is going well.

A smile spread across my heart as I grasped the significance of that latest text message:  

"I feel bad for some of my team-mates. 
It's not going as well for them. 
Some of us have it unfairly easy!" 

Oh really now!  Is this the same daughter texting that just a half a week ago had come to me in tears because she seemed to be exceedingly deficient in certain endowments that so evidently flourish in her friends? She had been at the point of questioning if she even had any very useful talents that would mean anything in the cause of God. To be fair, it had been an overwhelming couple of weeks. The days just before Christmas are always very, very full of opportunities for musical concerts to bless people and she had played her violin and sang and stepped in as a minute man, planned the Christmas service for the church, organized practices with young people and small kids and even written the script. She had work to do for GYC registration and some calls to make for a friend. Old people were depending on her to help them get their Christmas tree put up, while little kids needed her to help them with their crafts. She was starting to drop the ball here and there on some of the details. Logistics are clearly not her forte and she felt disorganized and unable to meet people's expectations and that's when she realized maybe she was trying to do too many things and some of those she really was not cut out to do. She has fantastic friends who can organize an army, plan a conference,  run businesses, feed the world and still harmonize their bedroom closets by the Lean Principles touted by Toyota. That's just not her, however, and she was beginning to only see what she can't do well instead of what she can do with grace.

Humanity is like that. We are all like that. We  compare ourselves among ourselves and we lose sight of the God-given gifts bestowed upon us.  The Bible says we are not being wise when we do that, of course. Right then, though, what she needed was a hug and someone to point out that not everyone was suppose to be created with the same gifts and talents and she clearly was not meant to be an organizer general.  This world would certainly fall apart without those kind of people, for we most definitely need planners, organizers, coordinators and facilitators, but definitely she was not designed to be all of that.

"But I don't know if I can remember what I can do!" She lamented.

"You are a people person; a connector. Why, you could sell a carrot to a farmer with ten rows of carrots in his patch. Not because he needs it, and not because you have a great sales pitch, but because you connect and people respond to that connection. They feel loved and they are drawn to reciprocate . Think about some of the people in the community you have connected with recently."

"Oh my! I think I want to go visit that old lady I met at the Christmas concert that was one of 9 in the family that camped with their sheep in the mountains all her growing up years . . . "

I smiled again as I re-read her text message:
"Some of us have it unfairly easy!
The people I meet are typically interested. . . "
And I  remembered the prayer I had prayed that the Lord would show her some of her special gifts given to her especially from Him.  I typed back:

"I think some people have excellent people skills. 
Like we talked about."

"Yes", she texted back, 
"It's a blessing".  

. . . . Some have the gift given them of God to act as organizers. Others fill their place as they work in retirement, feeling themselves little and unknown, with but few to recognize their work, and none to pity their mistakes and praise their victories. But the Lord uses all these elements. No one man can fill every place, and God’s great work must go forward. . . . In every age God has His workmen, and at the needed time preparation is made for some man with talent, with some gift, to come in. Thus the Lord reveals that He has the supervision of His work. The most essential work now to be done is to consider the words of Christ, “All ye are brethren.” Each must stand in his lot and place to do the work appointed him, in perfect harmony with his brethren. All are to seek to strengthen and build up the waste places to hold aloft the Bible standard, to voice the third angel’s message, to live the truth, to exercise mercy and the love of God, and be ready for any work that may be next in the service of God. MS 116, 1898