Our church is working its way through the book of 1st Corinthians at present, and this past Sunday the sermon was focused on spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts, in general, are capacities and abilities apportioned and empowered by God in a Christian’s life for the common good.
But the pastor said something else that has stuck with me since. He mentioned that as part of common grace (according to Grudem’s Systematic Theology, common grace is the grace of God by which He gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation) everyone is given gifts/talents by God, but many/most never get to develop and use those talents, at all or to their full potential. Some because of where they are born. Some because of poverty or lack of education. Some because of missing opportunity or the absence of a mentor in their lives.
I have known the doctrine of common grace, of course. But this sermon caused me to pause to consider what a difference it meant for me to be born at the time I was born as well as born in this country, in this state, and into my particular family.
I’ve always had the gift of storytelling. They used to call it lying. Ha!
No, seriously, I have always had a vivid imagination and loved to entertain others with the stories I could spin. God gave me this gift long before I was ever aware of it or of Him. It was part of His common grace and did not require me to become His child through the new birth.
But what would have happened to that gift if I’d never learned to write? Or if I’d had a mother who belittled me instead of encouraging me? What if I’d been born into abject poverty where the only concern every day was whether or not I would have something to eat or water to drink? The gift still would have existed but nobody would have ever been aware of it. Probably not even me.
Understanding this, how can I not break out in thanksgiving for God’s grace in my life?
Thank You, God, for a mother who encouraged me and built me up to believe I could achieve my dreams.
Thank You, God, for my aunt Marge, a schoolteacher, who was the first to read something I’d written and say, “You’re going to be a writer one day.”
Thank You, God, for teaching me the value of hard work and determination and self-discipline.
Most of all, God, thank You for Jesus and His saving grace, for without Him and His salvation, no matter what I did with the talent You gave me, it wouldn’t mean anything at all.