Gifts and Kindness

So I’m almost done with the second of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, Blink. I have thoroughly enjoyed this one as well as the first: The Tipping Point. This morning on the train I found myself getting emotional in some passages that aren’t really meant to be emotional. I was trying to figure out what in the world it was that was affecting me and I have a hunch. The passages in question are quoting experts in their field. A military expert, a police expert, a psychological expert, and so on (Blink is about rapid cognition — the two second decisions we make with our unconscious mind). My theory is that people using their gifts to their full potential moves me.

I know that’s kind of odd (I’ve been accused of that before :). But it does. Most people like to see an athlete be the best in the world. We even celebrate the exceptional high school football player that will most assuredly play college ball. But I have this soft spot for all kinds of disciplines: science, medicine, government, and, of course, music. There’s something about seeing a talent, an ability, a gift come to fruition in someone’s life. Proverbs 18:16 says, “A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great.” That’s what I feel happening when I read (or watch, or hear) about people who are using their gifts. Their gift is making a way for them.

Romans talks about the kindness of God and how it leads us to Him. The gifts God gives people are evidence of His kindness and it draws me to Him. How kind is He that he gave me the gift of playing music, of writing songs, of leading His people in worshiping Him? How kind is He?

This is for unbelievers as well. Romans 11:29 declares, “For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” Even if someone is far away from Him, he gave them abilities and He does not take them away. This is why I disagree with Christians who say we shouldn’t listen to “secular” music, movies, or other entertainment. God gave the gift and I’m celebrating Him by enjoying it in another person – believer or not!

What is even more amazing is that God set us up to seek out our gifts, to discover our calling. We all want to know what we were created for. You see surveys all the time that illustrate the sky-high percentages of people who are dissatisfied with their job and want to do something else. If only they could make a living from their passion. I believe God put that desire deep down in us so we would seek out our gifts and how to use them. In that process we would discover Him – the Giver of gifts, creator of kindness.

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