My pastor in the states recently preached a message about the Magi that visited baby Jesus. Matthew 2:1-12 tells us that these men had seen His star rise in the sky and followed it to the town of Bethlehem. Recognizing the worth of the newborn as the savior of the world, they laid down before Him their very best gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh. I wish I could have been there to hear this word myself. Even sitting in the church seats, one could imagine the fragrant aroma that arose before the child’s little nostril’s, pleasing the mighty God…
Well the wise men’s offerings may not be lying around your house, but the truth is that as new heirs to the Kingdom of God, our heartfelt gifts to the Lord can give Him that same delight. Music, painting, poetry, dance, even administrative abilities; the list goes on, but the point is that each of us has been sealed with God’s spirit to make something exist out of nothingness. For the missionary, those gifts can also serve to help bridge the gap between Christ’s message of salvation and a foreign culture. Where your grammar in Arabic may be lacking right now, your ability to hit those guitar notes could cause a heart to sing. Are you an actor? Why not put on a nativity play or puppet show for the children? It takes a truly bored person indeed to forgo at least a passing glance at a vibrant painting. You say that’s not you? Good, it simply means that the journey to find out exactly what God has given to you is just beginning.
The Lord Jesus often spoke to the masses in parables, stories that penetrated social class and met a person right where they were in life. In doing so, Christ shared an understanding with the common man. I say common man in the way that all humanity is known to the Lord, none better or lesser than the other. In the same way, when we share with others not only the message of God, but something so intimate and special as the talent that He’s given to us, then there’s a corresponding intimacy forged between two peoples. After all, what is the great commission if not enlarging the family of God?
It’s funny how many times I’ve been asked if I can play the guitar since starting as a missionary. It’s not my gift unfortunately, but that’s alright because you and I do have something to give. In fact, I am in the final stages of preparing a Bible themed art class that will start off the new year next month. I appreciate your prayers and know that mine are with you in this coming new year as you share that sweet aroma of yours.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts…”
– Preparing to build the Ark of the Covenant, Exodus 31:1-5