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Sermon Illustrations: Gifts

A genius (IQ 160) is in the desert, the nearest water is 200 kilometres away, and his motorbike is broken. A mechanic (IQ 100) fixes the bike. The genius becomes a moron and a moron becomes a genius.

Little babies are useless. They canít use their hands to make a cup of tea. They canít use their feet to play soccer. They canít use their fingers to play the piano. Theyíre useless. But, give them time. One day that useless little baby may grow up to be a very skilful carpenter, or a surgeon.

The best dairy cow in the world canít be a race horse. It may be saying, ďIím confessing, Iím believing, Iím gonna win this race.Ē But itís still a dairy cow.

One Christmas, when I was a kid, my parents gave me and my brother pedal cars. We were excited. We unwrapped them, opened them up, and played for ages Ė with the boxes. God gives each of us gifts, but many Christians never get around to unwrapping theirs.

There are times when God calls us to serve outside of our giftings. But not everyone is willing. Even Moses himself refused to speak because it wasnít his gift. (Ex 4:10)

A personís abilities are like the tools of a carpenter. People donít go up to him and say, ďWow, what a beautiful hammer.Ē They donít sit around complaining, ďItís not fair. How come heís got such a nice looking chisel?Ē You donít see the carpenter running around saying, ďHey, look at me. Iíve got a really nice saw.Ē

Life is a journey, and itís very much a journey of discovery. Let me explain it this way. Every Christmas, our kids get a Christmas stocking. Allison packs all this stuff in there, each item individually wrapped. If it were left up to me, it would probably all be piled into a plastic bag unwrapped. But she goes to a lot of effort. And so, come Christmas, they can reach into the stocking, take out an item, try to guess what it is, and then unwrap it. And I think that a lot of the pleasure comes from having all these different things to unwrap. Life is a lot like that. The vast majority of us start off at school having absolutely no idea what weíre good at. Then gradually, we discover that we are good at some things and not so good at others. Can I suggest to you that youíre never too old to discover something new about yourself; to unwrap yet another gift that God has placed in your life? Sometimes Iíve thought: How wonderful for those who know their strengths at a very early age. Mozart is a good example. He was playing the harpsichord at three and composing at five. So itís no surprise that he turned out to be an extraordinary musician. But what so often happens with people who are amazingly talented at a young age is that they donít discover much else about themselves. Itís like taking that Christmas stocking, taking out the first thing, unwrapping it, and then getting so caught up in that one gift, that you set aside the stocking, and never get around to unwrapping anything else.

I really admire people like Nick Vujicic. No arms, no legs. How does he get by? So many of the things that people with normal bodies take for granted, he still manages to do. How? Because other parts of his body step up to the mark and do something they werenít necessarily designed to do. For instance, heís got a foot with two toes. And he types with it. Is the foot designed to do things like typing? Of course not. Nobody who has hands would use their toes to type. Nobody who has hands would use their mouth to paint. But there are times when people have to make do with what theyíve got, and other parts of the body step in and perform a function they werenít originally designed to do. Thatís often what happens in smaller churches.

There are three kinds of people in the world Ė those who are good at maths and those who arenít.