It was second grade. We were in the middle of a themed week in school. Monday was something like “Funny Hat Day”, Tuesday was “Opposite Day”, and so on. In the middle of day, some mildly motivated voice would come over the public announcement system requesting everyone that had complied with the theme of the day to report to the library to receive a token prize. One of those such days was “Green Eyes Day”, much to my disappointment because that was something completely beyond my control. I could pick a hilarious hat for “Funny Hat Day” or come up with a clever interpretation for “Opposite Day”, but I didn’t have a choice whether or not I had green eyes, and therefore was disqualified from the contest completely devoid of any effort on my part.
Imagine my surprise when my teacher looked at me and said, “Barbra, report to the library immediately!” She seemed somewhat cross with me. I didn’t understand why. I was quietly doing the assignment she had given us. Then it hit me that she had said, “library” and not “office”. She was mistaken! That’s where the kids with green eyes go, and while I would have loved to have green eyes, I didn’t.
Again, she insisted, “Barbra, report to the library immediately!”
“But, Mrs. So-and-So, I don’t have green eyes!” was my crucified response.
“Don’t be ridiculous! Just go!” she snapped, and went back to marking the papers on her desk.
Dumbfounded I slowly rose from my desk and left the room, glancing furtively back at her more than once. I found myself on automatic pilot, drifting toward the library, my fingertips grazing the glossy painted cement blocks that formed the long hallway. When I reached the librarian, I mumbled a dejected apology, “I’m so sorry to waste your time. I know today’s prize is only for kids with green eyes, but for some reason my teacher made me come down here.” My eyes were fixed on her shoes, brown and practical just like my eyes.
The librarian bent down to my level and lifted my chin so she could see my eyes. Expecting a disappointed frown, I reluctantly returned her gaze. I found her smiling; the eyes-twinkling-kind-of-a-smile. Her head tilted to the side, and I found my head also tilting. “My dear,” she said amusedly, “your eyes are the greenest I’ve seen today!”
I’m a twin, you see, and I thought I was just a reflection of what my twin sister looked like, and she has BROWN eyes. They are beautiful deep brown eyes, but brown nonetheless. Someone else had to look at me and tell me how I’m different from her.
Actually, that’s not too different that discovering how we’re gifted.
I’ve been reading through Ephesians in the morning with my warm cup of coffee nearby. This morning, in Ephesians 4:1-6, the writer Paul was describing unity among all believers in Jesus Christ – emphasizing we are ONE body, with ONE spirit, serving ONE God. And then, in the next paragraph he says this,
“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it” (verse 7).
God gave gifts to each of us as he saw fit. Verses 11-13 go on to mention some of those gifts in very general categories, and you can find gifts listed elsewhere in Scripture. I’m convinced there are even gifts that are not listed on a traditional “gifts inventory”, because God is such a creative and specific designer.
Maybe more on that later… Maybe…
I think, though, much like I didn’t know I had green eyes until second grade and someone looked at me and told me I had green eyes, many of us don’t realize what gifts we’ve been given. Sometimes it takes someone else looking at you to say, “Don’t you know you have green eyes?!” It can be so obvious to someone else, and yet we stay oblivious because we’re so fixated on what everyone around us has. Some gifts lend themselves to the obvious like leading worship at church, preaching a compelling sermon, or rallying a community to meet the needs of the neglected. Other gifts are more subtle like having a heart for worship, designing aesthetics, encouragement, bringing creativity to an event, or organizing work flows and financial management systems.
It can also slip past our radar because it comes so easily to us, while others would struggle to do the same thing. Things that come easily to us to naturally don’t always seem like gifts; they just seem easy.
Here’s a suggestion to find your gifts: Ask.
- Ask yourself what kinds of service/task you find yourself drawn to and enjoy that help your family, neighbors, or church.
- Ask your friends, your family, your peers, and your colleagues what they’ve noticed about you that sets you apart. What are you good at? What reason would they come to you if they needed help?
- Ask to try something new if you haven’t found your gifts yet. Maybe you just haven’t been in a scenario where your gifts can shine. By that I mean, you definitely know that there is something at work beyond your personality and skill training.
My hope is that you will become aware of the gifts God saw fit to give you. As you use them and develop them, they will grow (1 Timothy 1:6). May you discover your own “green eyes”!
- Posted by hellobabs
- On March 17, 2020
- 0 Comment