On Saturday, I went to the monthly women’s meeting of our church. It’s a small group because a lot of us are not able to attend for one reason or another, but that gives us a chance to sing, pray, and share in a more intimate setting. This month, the theme was les Tresors de Dieu – treasures from God.
2 Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Jesus was rich, yet he left heaven and became poor for us so we might have what he does. Sometimes we forget that, or forget how much we’ve been given. But in studying the treasures God has given us, we’re able to see just how rich we are. We see how much we have.
We were given a worksheet that had five boxes. The FIRST was where we needed to list our treasures. It’s accompanying scriptures was James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.“
This was where we could list, not only the talents we’ve been given, but also our physical and spiritual gifts. I wrote things like translating, singing (not solos, but just song-leading in front of the church to encourage the congregation), hospitality and cooking, and along with that – our house. I also included writing and public speaking, a solid understanding of the scriptures, and a listening ear. When the other women shared theirs, I added to my own list things I had forgotten: eternal life (duh), having my parents’ presence in my life as a child and now, the church family, the Bible, my 5 senses, my husband and children, hot water and a bed.
It was good for me to list my talents and gifts – my treasures. Truthfully, I’ve been feeling loser-ish as of late. Sometimes (often) I speak without thinking, or hurt people unwittingly. We’ve also had disappointments and discomfort over the past year – mainly due to the house stuck in construction – which can make me feel like God is not for us, even though I know this not to be true if I look at the promises in the Bible.
In the SECOND box, we were to write the positive points regarding our use of the talents and gifts God has given us. The accompanying scripture was Galatians 6:4 “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.”
In my box, I wrote that I introduced myself to strangers at church and made myself available for translation whenever there was a need. My husband and I open our house up for Bible discussions on Friday nights, or the monthly house churches on Sunday morning, and we provide food to feed our guests. (Friends bring food as well and help us to clean up afterwards). I offer to study the Bible with people who are searching, and try to lend a listening ear if I think someone needs to talk. All positive, right?
The THIRD box was, perhaps, a more natural thing for me to focus on. We were to write the areas in which we needed to grow in using God’s gifts. The scripture was also Galatians 6:4 because that sort of covers both our successes and stumbling points.
Where to grow? That’s easy! 🙂 I can so easily see all the areas I fall short, instead of all the areas I succeed. But here’s what I wrote:
I could be more appreciative of what God has given me in a “stop and smell the roses” type of way. I can take better care of my house and garden so that I’m able to properly welcome people (without last-minute sock sweeps as the doorbell is ringing). I can listen to my children – to what interests them – rather than telling them what I think they should be doing. Of course, there’s the need to raise the children, training them in the way they should go, but I often have trouble getting interested in what lies outside chores, homework, instruments, and good moral character.
And finally, I could write more about God. I worry so much about how my plots are coming along in my current book, and have neglected the faith component of my blog.
The FOURTH box was all about decisions. This scripture was 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – a scripture often used for monetary contribution, but can also be for giving back of one’s time and talents.
One thing I want to do more of is help the Syrian refugees. I know how – they need people to drive them plus a translator to appointments to get them medical care or legal status. I’ll be honest. I’m afraid of getting out of my comfort zone (driving a minivan in Paris, using up my time, which never seems to be enough, meeting people I don’t know). But I finally followed up on a promise to be in touch with the coordinator this fall so I could help, so we’ll see where that leads.
The other decision I made was to write more about God. I decided to write a post on faith twice a month. It’s something that’s part of my daily life, but that’s not always evident from my blog subjects.
The FIFTH box was where we wrote what spoke to us regarding the theme of treasures from God. I think for this, I was just struck by how much I’ve been given, and how good it was to focus on that rather than what I lack. Yes, I need to find the balance between not over-extending myself – forgetting to take a “sabbath”, and thus going beyond what God has called me to do – while still managing the enormity of these treasures, blessings, and talents to bring glory to God. In this I need to keep striving, keep appreciating, keep growing, keep living.
To that, I say, onward!
If you were to fill out this worksheet, what are some of your treasures? The ways you use them or need to improve? Are there decisions you’re ready to make about bringing glory to God through his blessings?