While on the mission trip this week, I have been in charge of feeding the kids on the trip.  Now neither Brett or I like processed cheese food slices.  In our own lives we insist on real cheese and because of our feelings about processed cheese food we decided to forgo the ease of pre-sliced processed cheese when buying food for the mission trip meals.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t find large blocks of pre-sliced real cheese and decided to buy a few 5 pound blocks of cheese and slice it ourselves.  Well, I agreed to the idea because Brett assured me that he would do all the slicing.  I’ll have to admit I was ready to buy the rubber cheese just so I wouldn’t have to slice three five pound blocks of cheese.  So I know your thinking that it wouldn’t be so hard if we would just buy a cheese slicer.  Well as these things go we forgot to buy a cheese slicer til after I had already sliced two blocks of cheese.  I say, ‘after I had sliced’ because apparently as Brett discovered a few days ago he does not have the ‘spiritual gift’ of slicing cheese into thin edible slices.  He slices cheese into thick chunky slices that no one wants to actually try to chew through while eating a sandwich.  Since we needed cheese for lunch sandwiches I picked up the knife……after already slicing four, five pound rolls of lunch meat, and began slicing the cheese into beautiful thin slices.  Why do I have to be good at slicing cheese?  If I were bad at slicing cheese, like Brett is, I wouldn’t have just spent what seems like half my time in the kitchen this week slicing cheese!  

We are all good at something.  Some of us are good at cleaning the pulpit while others are good at preaching from it.  Both of the things need to be done and be done well.  The person who preaches well may have not ability at all to clean well, while the person who can clean well, may not be able to speak publicly without putting the entire audience to sleep.  Personally I’d rather not be good at slicing cheese, but it was a useful skill this last week.  Now, at the time I was creating those slices of perfection I was not admiring their appearance nor anticipating the praise and accolades I would receive from the kids who would be amazed and astounded at the consistent depth and perimeter of every slice.  However, in our “thank you” circle at the end of the trip, the kids enthusiastically applauded the meals for the week.  So, even when I didn’t appreciate my “gift”, or it’s being used so much, the end result was it was a piece of a larger blessing, and isn’t that how God uses our individual gifts?  He takes yours, mine and everyone else who gives their time and talent to support the church work, and magnifies it into something we could never create on our own!  But it doesn’t stop there.  Whenever we give of ourselves to be part of something bigger than ourselves, we always get a double blessing in return.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  I John 3:18