Amid last week’s furor in Chile over the total eclipse of the sun, I was reminded of those times when we provoke a total eclipse of the gifts God has blessed us with. Some days we’re tempted to hide our lights and obscure the talents we’ve received by grace.
In our area near the Elqui Valley, we experienced the unique event of being almost in the center of the solar eclipse. You should have seen us in our 3/D-like paper glasses, gawking at the cloudless sky for an hour while the moon inched across the sun.
In our lives, though, if we’re not shining, no one will notice us. Sharing our light isn’t brassy self-promotion. Rather, not sharing our gifts of grace leans toward selfishness, whether we consider it that or not.
Gift = Charismata
In a lexicon of New Testament words, you’ll find that gifts, grace, and joy are related ideas. In fact, our word charisma derives from this same Greek root.
And so, every blessing and benefit of mind, body, and spirit has been gifted us by God’s grace (unmerited favor) and should be received with joy, cultivated with care, and applied to enrich others as well as ourselves.
The Apostle Paul urged his young protégé, Timothy, to “…kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…” (2 Tim. 1:6). A charismata, a gift of God, should burn like a flame within us—burn with passion, warmth, and dazzle.
Grace = Charis
My Droplet Gift #12: I will work to fan my gifts into a flame. Instead of allowing a partial or total eclipse, I’ll do my best to develop and use what God by His charis has blessed me with.
“As each one of us has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold (many-faceted) grace of God” (I Peter 4:10).
Apparently, the chance of someone else possessing the same top 5 grace gifts that I have is one in 3.4 million. Doesn’t that blow your mind? We each of us are rare treasures, unique diamonds displaying the many facets of God’s amazing grace.
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” For what purpose was I born? For “…the praise of the glory of (God’s) grace…” (Eph. 1:6).
Joy = Chara
The past couple of weeks, my daughters and I have collaborated on a creative project—a mystery novel entitled Total Eclipse. We’ve had rollicking good fun with it, even delight.
In the movie Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddle, the missionary and Olympic gold medalist, said that when he ran, he sensed God’s pleasure, as well as his own. You too can understand the joy–chara–he felt, if you’ve experienced that blaze of exhilaration that comes in fulfilling what God has destined for you to do.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.” –Erma Bombeck
Lord, don’t take me home until…the gifts You’ve given me glow in a bright and steady flame.