“I have a surprise for you!” Liam exclaimed in a sing-song sort of voice on the way home from school a few days ago. He then proceeded to rummage through his backpack from the back seat, insisting I take his surprise from him once he found it, despite the fact that I was driving us home.
Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of practice twisting my arm behind the driver seat to give and take things from him over the years, so this was no different. I even managed to get a good look at his creation as we came to a stop at a light—a picture of a person he had drawn during art class that day.
“You drew this for me?” I asked him in pleasant surprise.
“Yes,” he answered sweetly. It’s not the first time that he has given me little gifts like this, but for some reason, my heart felt especially touched by this piece of art. Perhaps it was knowing that he had been thinking about me throughout the day. Or maybe it was because Liam had poured his little heart into this picture that resembled a monster to me out of love for me, confidently knowing I would gladly accept it from him.
No matter the exact reason, Liam left me with a lot to think about that afternoon in light of this surprise.
Something I love about the stage of life that I find Liam in is that he is not self-conscious of his developing abilities. He doesn’t compare his work to the more advanced artwork that I have been working on for nearly a year (more on that in a later post), nor does he compare his abilities to the other children he knows, becoming insecure by those who are more advanced in their artistic abilities than he is. He is pretty unaware of this idea of comparison as of now (unless it comes to who has the bigger dessert! Lol!), and I’m grateful for that. What compels him to draw is his love for the activity and his desire to shower love on friends and acquaintances alike through sharing his little masterpieces with them.
I wish I were more like Liam in that respect. I wish the world were more like him in that respect. I have a feeling that we would see a lot more acts of kindness and many more displays of beauty in this world if we could shed our own fears and insecurities when it comes to our own abilities. And imagine how much more God’s glory would fill this earth if we, as believers, would offer our talents, abilities, and gifts up to God wholeheartedly for His good pleasure as He used them to bless others!
As Liam and I continued our short drive home that afternoon, the passage from Luke 21 about the widow’s offering came to mind.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2 and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”Luke 21:1-4 ESV
Although this story speaks of generous financial giving, it’s a story that God used in my life years ago to convict me of other areas in my life where I was failing to be generous toward God. He specifically used it to convict me of my desire to keep certain talents hidden due to insecurities and my own self-perception that I didn’t measure up to others when it came to those specific abilities. The truth is, I felt like I had so little to offer when it came to certain aptitudes that I felt God was nudging me to use. So many others could give substantially more than I could in those areas.
But then God reminded me of this widow. It didn’t matter if all I could give was much less than others as long as it was my all. After all, He knew how much talent I had and to what extent my abilities would develop and grow, because He had given me those abilities and caused them to grow in the first place. All He was asking is that I not hide the gifts that He had given me. All He wanted was for me to focus on pleasing Him with my talents and abilities, because pleasing Him was all that mattered in the end anyway, and in offering my gifts, abilities, and talents back to Him in worship, I knew He could ultimately use them to bless others also.
I can’t say I don’t struggle with this topic anymore. It continues to be an issue that I must continue to surrender to the Lord. But when I think of Liam and all the people that he’s made smile through his rough sketches of faces generally sporting mustaches and beards, I can’t help but think what God might do when I wholeheartedly offer my abilities back to Him. After all, if He could feed 5,000 from one boy’s two fish and fives loaves of bread (John 6), then what might He do through us if we give our all to Him?