I sat in the mother’s room, a sleeping baby snuggled against me. It was a good place to be during a memorial service, holding the future while honoring the past.

I was stuck with his philanthropy and generosity, this unassuming yet powerful man, who had left a legacy in our church and community. He had been blessed – with a big heart and deep pockets, and he had been a blessing as well. His long list of accomplishments was intimidating.

It is easy to imagine, when an influential person is being eulogized, that if I had the same gifts and blessings, I could be just as generous. But my pockets are much more shallow in comparison…and really, what do I have to offer?

Like the unfaithful servant in Jesus’ parable*, I may squander my small gift because I feel inadequate in the shadow of someone like Jerome. Selfishness, low self-worth and marginalizing God’s blessings can leach away my effectiveness.

Have you ever given a gift that clearly did not excite or interest the recipient? Perhaps you had carefully chosen it, looking forward to sharing the joy with your friend, only to see it put away and forgotten.

God’s gifts are carefully chosen, thoughtfully given and expectantly watched. Specifically given to advance His kingdom, our passions, interests and obligations are like parts of the body, each useful and necessary.

Accept your gift.
Value, embrace, and share it.
It is beautiful.

Ann Halim is editor of e-Weekend, a newsletter for the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Reprinted with permission.

*Matt. 25:14-30