January 20, 2023
Receiving God's Gifts in Others
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"Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God." 1 Peter 4:10 (CSB)
Last spring, we found ourselves in a muddy situation - literally.
We had unintentionally created 10 tiny ponds in our backyard and a huge safety hazard for the kids! See, my husband and I had come up with this exciting (and perhaps overly ambitious) idea to start a backyard orchard. On a whim, I ordered 10 fruit trees and started dreaming of picking my own apples.
It was a lovely dream, but in reality, we dug 10 huge holes and then didn’t have enough time to finish planting. It rained so much that week that by the time we got back outside, the holes were completely filled with muddy water.
After trying unsuccessfully to scoop the water out with a 5-gallon bucket and use the hose as a siphon, my tired husband was about to head to the hardware store when I suggested he text our neighbor. We both felt a little silly about it. How often do you get a text saying, "Hey, do you have anything I can use to get water out of the huge holes in my yard?"
But he asked anyway, and to our surprise, our neighbor had the perfect solution! He's into boats and had a pump that's typically used to get water out of things like ... well, boats. Who knew?! We sure didn't.
For us, this was a wonderful reminder that God designed us to be in community. First Peter 4:10 says, "Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God." I often look at verses like this and think only about my responsibility to help, but let's consider the flip side of it: In community, we also get to be the recipients of God's gifts in others.
There are skills, crafts and hobbies we simply do not have but someone connected to us just might. While a co-worker's love for painting or sewing may not come to mind in all situations, it’s there for us to tap into when we do need it. That's the power of community. We don't have to individually possess every talent or have access to every resource we may need along the way.
And God, being the good Father He is, loves when we do life with others and benefit from the blessings He's placed in them. If I'm delighted when my kids help each other with schoolwork and chores, then God, who's an infinitely better parent than I am, surely takes joy when we help one another.
We're all made better by the exchange of good ideas and resources. Looking at it this way, we see our individual imperfections give us an amazing opportunity. We get to feel more complete when we thrive alongside others, filling each other’s gaps when needed.
While my husband and I would've eventually found a way to empty those holes, our neighbor helped us do it in peace, with half the effort. In unity, we can strive less. Perhaps this is one reason Jesus said, "Take up my yoke and learn from me ... and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30, CSB). Being connected to Him also connects us to the greatness He has put in those who follow Him.
Dear God, show me how I can live in unity with the people You've purposefully put into my life. Help me to step out of my comfort zone and be a giver and receiver of the blessings You've placed within humanity. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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You can experience the blessings of gospel-centered community just like Jasmine described in today’s devotion when you join our "Encouragement for Today Devotions Community" group on Facebook. We can't wait to meet you there!
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 133:1, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (NIV)
Is there a gift or skill God has blessed you with that can be a help to someone you know? Is there someone in your community you could reach out to for help with a problem you haven't been able to solve? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2023 by Jasmine Williams. All rights reserved.