What does it feel like to receive a gift that was personally chosen for you?
What does it feel like to give a personally chosen gift to someone else?
This week, we’re focusing on giving. Often, when we think about giving we think about presents, charity, or giving money to the poor. This type of giving is important, but the most meaningful giving often requires sacrifice – someone putting extra thought and effort into how they show their love and appreciation.
Sometimes the greatest gifts don’t even cost money – but instead include us giving of ourselves.
What about giving meaningfully to God? Worshipping God can be an experience that is as unique as you are. He chose your unique qualities just for you. How can you worship God with the passions and gifts he has given you?
We each have unique interests, things we care about, skills, and talents. These qualities are gifts from God. But God did not intend for us to just keep them for ourselves; he meant for us to share them with others.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the story of three servants who are given bags of gold so that they can grow their master’s wealth. This parable has multiple interpretations of its meaning, but for this week we are focusing God desires to use the gifts he has entrusted us with.
The master is pleased with the servants who multiplied his gifts but angry with the servant who did nothing to invest what was given to him.
Using our gifts for others can be scary and requires risk, but when we use what God has given us to demonstrate his love we experience the fullness of life he intends us to.
Use the activity attached to this week to help you think through your gifts and how they interact with our world.
The following activity asks you to reflect on who you are, your hobbies, what you are passionate about, and areas of our world you are interested in serving.
The youth in Kayole, Kenya are using their talents to share the love of God and engage their community around important issues. They use different skills and gifts such as dance, writing, creating art and acting to share what they are passionate about with others.
Many youth in the community formed groups based on their different interests. The groups develop their skills together and organize events within the community to share their talents. They have organized fashion shows, dance competitions, art performances, and singing competitions, all created by the youth. The groups do not just highlight skills, but provide opportunities for students to serve others with activities like cleaning up the community and working in a children’s home.
Specifically, two theater groups have been created involving many of the youth. These groups perform in high schools and at other community events. The plays are more than just entertaining; they have messages to help their peers learn about topics such as HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. Through the creativity of the performances, the actors connect with the audience on a different level and start discussions about issues that might often be difficult to talk about.
The theater groups also perform in orphanages. When spending time with the children at the homes, the older youth become role models to the younger children. This encourages the children to discover their own talents as well. As the group gives their time and energy to serve the community with their passions for acting, singing, and dancing, the youth are bringing hope and change to their neighbors in Kayole, Kenya.
(Other youth from around Kenya are participating in similar performance groups to engage their community through their talents.)
This week’s challenge:
Practice using your gifts to serve others. Using the earlier activity, give of yourself – what you love to do, what you are good at, and to the people you feel called to serve.
Do you love playing a sport? Serve youth by hosting a skills clinic.
Do you enjoy cooking? Volunteer at a kitchen for homeless communities.
Can you knit? Make hats and scarves for people who may not be able to afford one otherwise.
As a small community, brainstorm ways you can combine your passions and serve together. The most important part is that you use your gifts for the benefit of others this week!
Take photos and write down stories of your experience.
On our global sharing platform, share what you are going to do by creating an action. Then come back and update the action with things you learned or pictures from your giving throughout the week.