March 2, 2018

By Rev. Rachel Allen Tabutol, United Methodist Church of Westlake Village, North District

James 1:17

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Erwin McManus tells the story of being given a guitar as a gift from a friend. The guitar that he was given was so lovely that Erwin wanted to keep it in pristine condition. In his efforts to do just that, Erwin only played the guitar occasionally and when it wasn’t in use he would put it in its case and store it in the closet. Being a parent, his children asked to play the guitar from time to time. Erwin let his oldest child play the guitar with supervision. As this child learned the proper respect for the gift, the rules and oversight lessened. Soon, the younger child wanted to learn and play on the guitar.

One day, Erwin came home to find this child playing the guitar without supervision or permission. Initially, he was (more than) a little angry, but soon he began to think about the purpose of the gift. A guitar is created to make music. If it stored in its case in the closet, the gift and its purpose go to waste.

I think of this story in relationship to the parable of the talents. What are the gifts that God has given to us and are we sharing them generously or hiding them away just like that guitar? Maybe we even need to start with the question, “What are the gifts that God has given to me?” And then transition into, “How might I share those gifts generously rather than hiding them away?”

When we look at the passage from James, we are reminded that those gifts come from God and they are good, regardless of how we feel about them (the gifts) or ourselves. Our self-doubt and insecurities cannot change the value of those gifts. However, when we remember the Giver of the gifts is the Father of lights we want to take out those gifts so that our lives can create music to the glory of God.

Prayer: Father of lights, reignite the light within me. Help me to see the gifts that you have given me and determine the best ways to share them. Use my life to radiate your light to others and to be the beautiful song you have created. Amen.