Once we’ve realized who we are (princesses!) and stopped comparing our gifts to others, and we recognize a mature request – we have to get past the assembly process.
Some Assembly May Be Required
We all have natural giftings – things that require very little work. For example. I love to talk. I have never had a problem talking. Individually, in public, whatever – I can communicate on any level. Some people – maybe my husband – don’t necessarily view that as a great gift, cause he has to listen to me constantly, but there you go. There are times when you see a “gift” in another’s life that you want – that is not out of jealousy or envy, but an honest desire to grow. You take it to the Lord and it’s a mature request. In my own life I did this a few years ago. I wanted to be more merciful, able to give grace to others – because I was lacking big time in those areas. I wanted it to be pre-assembled. Ready to use mercy conveniently packaged up in a little box. I wanted to have it, and take it out whenever I needed it – put it away when I was done. But that’s not exactly how it works.
Here’s an example we’ve probably all experienced. The Christmas you get a bike. My Dad loved to trick us as kids. When I got a bicycle, he wrapped up the just the seat. Until I opened it and realized there was a bike box sitting out on the deck, I was totally fooled by the little box. We spent the next several hours putting it together with the 40 page instruction manual. There’s no way we could have done it without step-by-step guide. A bike is a good gift, but it’s pretty much worthless as pieces in the box.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
It doesn’t say “He who gave you everything you wanted totally ready to use”. The “began a good work” says that there’s more to be done. There are many good gifts that require some work. If you want something of the Lord, don’t be afraid to ask for it. But, be ready for the assembly process. Don’t miss out on the really amazing stuff because you lack the willingness to work a little for it.
I used to say that I would never pray for patience – because I didn’t want to go thru what God would need to do in my life to develop that particular gift. So what did I do? I prayed for mercy, and grace – which is basically patience, demonstrated towards difficult people. Patience…thru people.Yeah, I guess I didn’t really think that one thru.
God answered my prayers for mercy and grace. But it wasn’t how I expected it. I didn’t wake up one morning brimming full of a kindhearted tenderness towards people in need of grace. Rather, God started giving me opportunities to develop mercy. I was given many many many encounters where either I needed grace and mercy given to me, or I was dealing with relationships requiring me to be gracious and loving. The assembly process drove me to the Lord’s instruction manual (Bible) and for the first time in my Christian walk, I began a consistent quiet time – reading the word and applying the truths in my life. And here’s the great thing about God’s gifts – it’s hard work when they are being assembled sometimes. It’s messy, you get grease on your hands, you might pinch your fingers in the spokes – and you’re really focused on the task at hand. You’re concentrating on the piece in front of you – and then suddenly, you are done. The bike is finished. You find yourself being merciful, without realizing it. After all that effort, suddenly the work is completed. Nobody would spend 5 hours putting a bike together and then set it aside in the garage and never ride it. You know God’s gift is there because you find yourself using it. His gifts meant to be used!
Romans 12: 6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
I’m not quite to the “cheerfully” part of the mercy thing – it’s a work in process. Maybe that’s the training wheels I still have on my bike?
I would encourage each of you to do these three things.
1. Celebrate the gifts God has given you. Your natural talents, without comparing them to others. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask God for things, but be realistic about where you are and what you are ready for – it may not be a pony.
3. Be prepared for the assembly process. Be willing to get in the word, seek out God’s will and do the work necessary to use God’s gifts to serve Him and others.