I’m not gifted at gifting. The birthday parties my girls get invited to always sneak up on me and we end up rushing around at the last minute to find an “affordable but unique” present to bring.
I’m especially not gifted at gift wrapping. I can’t ever get seem to get it right and, because we’re always in a rush, my motivation to improve in this area is low – especially since I can always let people assume that I let the kid wrap the gift, right?
Last Sunday my oldest daughter, Ada, decided to take the job of wrapping that day’s last-minute purchase in preparation for the party that afternoon. After gathering her supplies, Ada got to work, and within a few minutes, the inevitable happened and the tears ensued. The paper had ripped, the folds weren’t perfect, and one whole side was all bunched up.
Having lots of experience in this exact situation, I told Ada not to worry! There was an easy solution: ribbon. Lots of ribbon. Ribbon is a great way to cover up all those imperfections and distract any gift-viewers from even noticing them.
I quickly tied a ribbon around the package and walked away to continue in whatever else I was doing, leaving Ada to make the finishing touches.
A few minutes later, I looked over and saw this:
My creative little engineer of a child had used her gift of creative engineering to add her own “personal touch” to this gift.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that all believers in Christ have been “gifted” simply because we have God’s Spirit dwelling within us. He makes His presence in our lives known by giving us certain abilities and strengths. But these gifts were never meant to be kept to ourselves, they were given to us “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
If you’re like me, you’ve used to the “I’m just not good at that kind of thing” excuse to avoid and procrastinate giving your time and energy to serving in the church. Because when we go to the “birthday parties,” everyone else’s “gifts” seem to be so “perfectly packaged”. And we’re afraid that if we even try, we’ll just turn it into a botched up mess and be left scrambling for some “ribbon” to try and cover it up.
But the truth is that we were not created to be Pinterest-perfect servants. We’ve all been given gifts, but they come in very human packages – complete with quirks and flaws and personality. My gifts – and yours – are a work in progress, and there’s no need to try to cover them up with ribbon or avoid using them altogether!
I love how Paul says in verse 27: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” He doesn’t say “Your gifts make up the body of Christ” – he says you are the body of Christ! You – with your gifts and with all your quirks and flaws and personality – are an extremely important part of “the common good”.
Your personal touch – no matter how imperfectly packaged it may seem – is exactly what God intended and is exactly what is needed.
When Ada added her origami creations to her friend’s gift, she gave more than just a personal touch, she gave a piece of herself! And every time you use your gifts, you become a gift to your church and to the body of Christ as a whole.
You probably won’t find me signing up for a gift-wrapping ministry anytime soon, but I do have a lot to offer, just by being me – rips, crinkles, bunches and all.