Being married to a sports fan, I get to watch a lot of sports, or at the very least, sports recap shows. In the course of these, you realize that there are a lot of ways that athletes celebrate an accomplishment. Most of them (although not all) try to bring some further attention to the athlete themselves. If broadcasting their accomplishment all across the globe wasn’t enough, they want to further demonstrate that the touchdown/basket/homerun, etc. was a result of their prowess and ability.
These self-aggrandizing celebrations have long bothered me. It’s probably why I like the story of the coach who told his football team that if they were going to raise their helmet in celebration after they caught a touchdown pass, they better do it when they fumbled the ball as well. Assuming credit for the successes only is misleading; if you alone are responsible for the touchdown, than you alone are also responsible when you lose the ball. If you aren’t going to give credit when things go well, you certainly aren’t going to give blame when they don’t.
Of course, we know that regardless of the coach’s rules, none of these players can rightly accept credit for their gifts and talents because they are endowed by their Creator. He may have given the the ability to nurture and cultivate them, but ultimately He is responsible for not only their existence but their use. The same is true for the gifts and the abilities that God has given us. Whether it’s putting together a business plan, preaching a compelling sermon, or creating a musical masterpiece, these abilities are the result of God’s graciousness in our lives. We may use them – but we only use them because He has allowed us to do so.
This is what Daniel reminds us of in Daniel 2:28-30. He is about to use the skills that God has given him to interpret the king’s dreams, but Daniel starts with acknowledging that it is God who knows all things and therefore God who enables him to accurately interpret. This was an opportunity for him to gain favor – for him to cultivate esteem in the eyes of the king. However, he rightly recognized that the abilities he had been given were not “his” but came from his Father. So should we.
It’s an appropriate reminder when we are given and take possession of physical gifts to a greater degree than almost any other time of the year. Just like our talents and abilities are gifts given by God to be used for His glory, so are our possessions. May we see all we have, whether talents or material things, as tools to make Christ known. And whether we are blessed with an abundance or just a little drum and the ability to play, may we give it all for the sake of our King.
How can you honor the King with your gifts this Christmas season?