I have a guitar sitting on a stand in my living room and most nights that is all that can be said for it. It looks nice, but it does little to add any joy to either Lyndie’s or my life. I guess just having it sit there is pleasing to the eye, but that is not the gift of its construction. It is made to be played. It is meant to produce sound. When played with skilled hands, it can be very pleasing to the ear and that makes for a peaceful heart.
The fact that I do not play my guitar regularly means that it cannot fulfill the purpose for its creation. No one else who can play a guitar has access to it, so it gathers a bit of dust and waits for me to pick it up, adjust the tuning, and play one of the songs that I have learned over the years. When I do, I am pleased at being able to use the gift of music-making God gave me. Playing and singing makes me smile and my heartrate and blood pressure improve. There are many gifts connected with that guitar, but they remain unrealized when I do not play it.
Seeing the guitar sitting there on its stand reminds me that there are many gifts that largely go under-used. Being a bit of an introvert, I am naturally hesitant to reach out to people. I have learned to override my hesitancy, but when I am alone I can easily justify my silence.
Does the fact that I feel introverted mean that I should not reach out to others? I don’t believe that is true. I believe that we are meant to be connected beings. We each have gifts that can benefit the lives of others. When we use our gifts to help others, we use our community/relationships for the purpose for which they were created. Living in community, caring for one another, and sharing our gifts enables us to make beautiful music together. That, in turn, lowers our anxiety, our blood pressure, and our heartrate. It is truly a win/win for all.
I expect that you are like me in some ways. I expect that you also have gifts lying around that don’t get used enough. What would it take to get you to take the step of picking one up, adjusting the tuning, and making beautiful music? No, I am not talking about you taking up playing a guitar, just using a gift or talent that gathers more dust than it gets used. Our communities and relationships thrive when we practice using our gifts. When they thrive, we reap the benefits. Burdens are shared, sorrows are consoled, joys are celebrated, and our lives are freed from feelings of separation.
At the same time, we bless and benefit those in our communities with whom we do not have strong relationships. When they see how we benefit from using our gifts to bless all, they are drawn to explore just what it is that drives our caring. At that point, they can experience the love of God for themselves, and that is why we are here—to share God’s love in all that we say and do.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Braxton ><>