Unopened Gifts -- By Annettee Budzban

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in various forms." — 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

When I was a young girl we had big Christmas celebrations. My mother invited many family members and friends. Gifts were bought for all who would attend. Occasionally someone was unable to attend; their gift was left sitting unopened under the tree.

I remember longing to see what was in those unexposed packages. I was almost tempted to take a peek myself. I thought the fun of gifts was being able to see them unwrapped. . .

Just as those gifts sat unopened under our tree, some people never bother to unwrap or use their gifts and talents. They just sit there — never possessed, used or enjoyed. We all need the enjoyment of seeing those gifts unwrapped, for ourselves, as well as others.

The Lord blesses each of us with unique gifts and talents that should be used to honor Him. In Exodus 35, God called the Israelites to come and use their gifts to help build the temple. It says, "Both men and women came, all who were willing-hearted."

Recognizing our gifts helps us to use them properly. It may be your voice, your hands, or your ability to listen. I know a woman who loves to bake. She uses her gift to give pies to newcomers at her church. My friend Sue knows that she doesn't like to cook. So she stays away from volunteering to make a meal, but uses her talent of hospitality to open her home for a church meeting.

Not only are our vocations in life gifts, but our positions are, too. Our ability to be a good a spouse, parent, or friend, are all important gifts. The gift of leadership helps us to lead our family, or moves us into a management position. Many people think going to work is just a routine, and never realize that they are in essence using their gift

Our Christmas tree represents Christ. We sit under His authority, just as those presents sat underneath our tree. We need to sit beneath Him and open our gifts.

With time the people came to open those gifts that were left under our tree. Take a look at your life, and examine what gifts you have left unopened.

Annettee Budzban