Accepted and used.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.
Welcome and thank you for joining us this Sunday as we testify to our faith in our Lord and Savior and join in fellowship in His Holy Name.
God gives â€“ isnâ€™t that a wonderful statement? God has placed gifts in us, as St. Paul tells Timothy, a spirit of power, love, and self-control.
These gifts from God are a sure antidote to the things that humans face every day â€“ weakness, anger and hatred, and a lack of control over both ourselves and our surroundings.
The interesting thing about gifts is the choice of the one receiving them. The receiver has the choice of accepting and using the gift, accepting the gift and leaving it unused, misusing the gift, or just ignoring it.
Growing up, I, like you was trained to be thankful for gifts, and to accept them with grace. We were also taught that we must not waste what we were given. Perhaps in some ways that accounts for some of the clutter we all have â€“ what to do with that ceramic chicken table setting someone gave us?
God only gives needful and useful gifts. No ceramic chickens from God. We have these gifts of power, love, and self-control but now we must apply them. As professing Christians, that is what we are to do.
Jesus shows us how we are to apply these gifts in everyday situations, during the ordinary of our lives. We are to use our power, love, and self-control as His servants and servants of each other. We are to see with faith, the size of a mustard seed, how Godâ€™s gifts intertwine and bind our relationships with Him, our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom, and all of Godâ€™s creation.
Jesus wants us to use these gifts in doing all He commands, that is, to walk the gospel path where we give completely of ourselves, where we clothe and feed those in need, where we visit those alone, and where the beatitudes mark our life. We can all look those up.
To those given more, Jesus calls for more. For all of us in relationship with each other, we are to be a representation of Jesusâ€™ dwelling with us, His abiding presence. Look on each other and see Jesus abiding; His gifts ready for application.
Today, as we pause to consider the pets we love or have loved, we see in a special way the implementation of Godâ€™s gifts. We recognize a dependency in the ones given to us, for care, for companionship, for a recognition of their innocence and their sharing of unconditional love which we need to reciprocate. God thus uses creation to illustrate in the simplest of ways how the accepted gift is to be used. May we ever show how we have accepted the spirit of power, love, and self-control placed in us and how we have used them as His servants.