19 Aug What’s in your bag?
Camels or the “ship of the deserts” are smart animals. Before going on a long journey, they ‘pack’ their bodies with enough water to last the journey. And so it is with human beings! Before we leave to a particular place, we ‘pack’ our bags with all that is needed. Going to a beach? We pack our bags with sun screen, beach wear, beach ball, towels, etc. Or going to a hill station? Our bags are packed with woolen clothes, socks, head gear etc. Now let’s take the reverse of this. Assuming that I give you a bag that is fully packed, will you not be able to make a fairly reasonable guess of where it was intended for by looking through its contents? If man can pack his bag depending on his purpose, would not God ‘pack’ us with gifts, talents, experiences and desires for HIS purpose?
Time and again from the Bible, God tells us that each one of us is made unique in His image!
“Before your mother conceived you, I knew you!” “For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” God has ‘packed’ us with all that He knew was needed for us to bring glory to His name.
So, What’s in your bag? Two questions we need to ask ourselves. Have I opened my bag and identified what inbuilt qualities God has ingrained in me? And if I have I done that, have I thanked Him for that and with full contentment accepted His gifts and used it for His glory?
Maybe you are at a crucial crossroad in life not knowing what the future holds in terms of which line of work or study you should choose. Take some time off to think about your past. From your earliest childhood memories until now, what activities or work caught your attention the most? Or you enjoyed doing it so much that you never realized time go by? Or made you think about it so much that sometimes your mind was filled with it that it disturbed your sleep?
Here are some examples: did you enjoy playing with jigsaw puzzles or lego as a kid? Or was math class your favorite in school that numbers fascinated you? While playing cricket with your friends, did “captain-ship” come to you naturally and you enjoyed setting thefieldandrotatingthebowlers? How about art class in school? Did the mixing of the paints giving forth new colors have you in awe? And when kids of your age where playing computer games, were you writing programs in C or C++, or made a mini movie using your dads’ outdated digital camera?
Does this sound silly to you? Look at some examples from the Bible: Shepherd David knew how to protect his sheep from the lion and the bear. Years later, King David developed some of the best war strategies to protect the nation of Israel from its enemies. Paul, or Saul was a zealous Pharisee who persecuted the church. But after his conversion, with his in depth knowledge of the Word of God which was taught to him by Gamaliel and also from his personal study of the scriptures, Paul wrote letters which defines our theology today. Moses, the prince of Egypt could not remain silent when an Egyptian mistreated a Hebrew, that he killed him. When the Midianites harassed the daughters of Jethro, Moses intervened and chased them off. His heart beat for justice and equality that whenever he saw injustice, he couldn’t remain silent. Isn’t it amazing to observe that when God had to choose a man to pass on the 10 commandments, the Holy and Just law of God, He chose Moses!
What is in your bag? Did you stand up for the bullied kid in school? Or chose to spend time with the friend who was ostracized by others? Did you save juniors in your college from being ragged? Or did you enjoy teaching your classmates who struggled in studies? Did these things come naturally to you? The kid who enjoyed playing with jigsaw puzzles and the lego set could go on to become a great engineer who is able to see the big picture in his/her mind and fit the small pieces together. The captain of neighbourhood cricket group would go on to be a leader whose radical and strategic decisions can change the misfortunes of a company! The kid who stood up for the bullied kid can go on to become a leading lawyer and fight for the oppressed and those who cannot fight for themselves. I can go on but I guess by this time you get the point.
Worried about the future? Your future is a product of the past. It’s not just our gifts and talents but there are some God given experiences too that helps us get direction towards the future. Granddaughter and daughter of American missionaries in South India, all that she wanted to do was back to the States, marry a wealthy man and live comfortably. But one bad experience seeing 3 young women die during child delivery just because their husbands did not allow a male doctor to assist their wives changed Ida Scudder from the inside out that she went back to the States to finish her medicine, come back and start the Christian Medical College and hospital. An institute that has been a blessing to millions till today. Has God given you experiences such as these? Maybe we have ignored them or just suppressing them and not being sensitive to his promptings.
Sometimes in this process of looking at our gifts and talents, we look too much into ourselves and forget God in this process! We make ‘us’ an idol for ourselves! Oh! What a pitiful state to be in! All that He has given us has to be given back to God and used for His glory! I mentioned shepherd and King David. He was also a musician and song writer David. From the book of Psalms we see how many of his heart warming songs were written to glorify, praise and honor our Maker! The best thing to do would be to go to His feet and say. “All to Jesus I surrender… my time, my treasure, my talents, my gifts and my experiences..make me Jesus wholly Thine!” “Take my life O lord and let it be. . . consecrated Lord to Thee.” If what we do does not bring glory to God’s name, I think we are missing something.
For the last time, What is in your bag? It’s worth spending time looking into it! But not for our glory but for Him! As the Psalmist David says, Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory! Amen.
“I know that God has made me for (as a missionary to) China. But He has also made me fast, and when I run I feel His pleasure!” – Eric Lidell, 400 m gold medal winner, 1924 Paris Olympics.
The author and his wife, Abric Abisha live in Chennai. He serves as Tours & Visits Specialist at Caruna Bal Vikas. He blogs at http:// thecrossandthepen.blogspot.in/.