The grand tree stands alone, perfectly decorated with little red boxes with black felt ribbons neatly tied. How the gifts are attached to the tree, I can not see, but it is a magnificent sight. I saw multiple boxes opened. Each with varying gifts. Although the boxes seemed small the gifts that poured out of them, like ribbons just kept coming. The boxes seemed to expand like a magicians hat as the gifts were shared. A small gift with immeasurable impact. The picture is burned into my mind, speaking messages still days later.
The picture of the Church. The tree representing Christ, the gifts each of His children, they are available only as they are attached to Him. So many see the small box and see it as insignificant, as if they have nothing to offer. They look at what they see and never attempt to open the gift to share what God has placed inside of it. However as they dare to open the gift, it seems to grow and grow and grow producing more and more and more than they could ever think or imagine.
Days later what strikes me is that a gift doesn’t reproduce until it is opened. It remains a small box pretty to look at, but not good for much else. However, it is not the Lord that opens the gift. The gift is only opened by the receiver.
How often do gifts go unused because we are afraid or unwilling to risk opening them? How often are the left unopened because we’re afraid they are too small or that they will just not be enough? Yet God will never force us to use when He has placed within us. He will not open the gift for us. He has provided gift to us, but only we can open it up to be used. Only we can decide how much to pull out of what He has placed inside. Others may recognize what is inside us. Others may encourage us to see it, to use it, and even try to pull on it, but only we can choose whatvwe do with our gifts.
I think the picture was what I needed in the moment. In came on the wings of a new gift being expressed through me, but I had shared with some friends in the same evening my frustration. I acknowledge some gifts I know are inside of me, I just don’t know how to express yet or use them to God’s fullest design. Other gifts, people recognize in me, but I am afraid of letting the gifts flow from me because it is outside of what I understand or out of my comfort zone. I was frustrated that I have walked with the Lord for the majority of my life and have never had anyone who really has “pulled out” the gifts in me.
I have only recently begun learning how to express some of the things that I have known were inside of me for years. I have safe space to learn to express those gifts, one that I wish I had all along.
As I step out in obedience, I have been encouraged. Its uncomfortable, and scary, and yet freeing and exelerating. It is humbling to know He is using me and exciting when He lets me see I didn’t miss the mark or mess it up. As I pull on what is in the gift box, I am surprised that what seems so little to begin with keeps coming and growing. What He was showing me, is not only a picture that the gifts are there, but that only I can open the gifts in my life for His use. Only I can open the unopened gifts He has given in my life.