The gifts God uses are more than just financial or material resources. Your Life Gift might be a skill you have developed or expert knowledge you have gained. It might be time that is on your hands. It could be the gift of your smile or a few encouraging words. It might simply be the gift of your presence.
Our church administrator has a commercial driver’s license and loves to drive big vehicles, especially buses. He finds it relaxing—go figure! Every summer when our youth choir goes out on a missions trip, he drives. His Life Gift is a thirty-five-thousand-pound bus.
Charles Hall is a member of my church who owns an old hunting cabin that was once used as a place for men to get drunk and gamble. But Charles has put it to a different purpose. He brings groups of men to his cabin to experience Christian fellowship. Fathers and sons go there to hunt and fish and bond. In fact, so many men have used the solitude of Charles’s cabin to reconnect with God, he has put up a sign calling it “The Healing Place.” For Charles, an old drinking-and-gambling cabin was a Life Gift.
Or take Carl Bartlett, a lawyer in our church who specializes in managing multimillion-dollar commercial real estate deals. A few years ago our church had the opportunity to purchase a property next door to us that was an apartment complex. It was a great opportunity, but from a legal perspective our church was way over its head. Carl volunteered his time, and as a result almost a million dollars has come back into our church for use in mission and ministry.
For more than twelve years, Kay Bray served as a volunteer coordinator of our church’s English as a Second Language (ESL) ministry. Even in a relatively small city like Montgomery, we have quite a few people who speak limited English. Business people come from Korea to the Hyundai plant, officers come from around the world to study at our Air Force base, and migrant workers find jobs here in agriculture and industry.
The surprising thing Kay tells people is that you don’t have to speak a foreign language to volunteer. The ESL program is set up so that the instructors simply speak in conversational English, and the students follow along. Kay and her volunteers have made friends with people from over twenty countries—all because they discovered that simply speaking their native language could be a gift to give. English is their Life Gift.
Maybe your Life Gift is a million dollars that you don’t know what to do with. If so, I’m confident that God can show you how to make a difference in the world with that amount! However, I’m guessing most of us don’t have that problem. What your gift is doesn’t matter so much as having that spirit that says, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give to you.”