It was Sunday morning and time to put on her best as my mother rummaged through her closet deciding what to wear. The temperatures were dropping and she had pulled out her winter things. As she chose just the right outfit, she remembered the pair of beautiful Italian shoes she hadn’t worn in years. “They will match my outfit perfectly!”, she thought to herself as she dug through the boxes of shoes until she found them. When she pulled them from the box, they were each protected in their own shoe bag and looked brand new. She was so excited to find them and couldn’t wait to wear them to church. They matched her outfit perfectly. She felt pleased with herself while she stood on the front row and sang. As she swayed back and forth to the music, something was happening north. All around her feet she could see that her shoes were disintegrating and pieces of them were all over the floor where she stood. Panic begin to set in, and she realized that while her shoes looked like new, time had certainly taken its toll and they were falling apart right there in the middle of church. At that moment, the pastor’s wife motioned for her to join her at the front to pray for someone. Not knowing what to do, she tried to move as little as possible as she politely refused the pastor’s wife’s invitation. With a puzzled look, the pastor’s wife began to realize why my mother, who would normally march right up there and serve where needed seemed to be glued to her spot. All around her feet were pieces of her shoes. While the upper portions were fine, the soles had given up the ghost and were soon to be nothing but a mess on the floor. My mother was mortified. What was she going to do? How would she walk out of the church? How would she get that mess cleaned up without making a big fuss? Who was seeing this? The pastor’s wife looked at my dad and said, “I think Sherry has stepped in something.”
As my mother told us this story, we laughed hysterically. This is par for the course with my family and learning to find humor in our own calamity has gotten us through some pretty uncomfortable encounters. You just can’t be too serious about silly stuff. The Bible does say, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). So if we ever wanted to walk in humility, the Holy Spirit has made sure that we have gotten that opportunity. She couldn’t believe that these beautiful shoes she had kept pristine for so long had fallen apart right in front of the whole church. What had caused them to dry rot like that? I did a little research and found out that dry rot in shoes is caused when they are stored and not worn for a long period of time. They can begin to hold in moisture and that moisture develops a fungus that slowly eats away at the structure of the material and causes it to disintegrate. Wearing the shoes helps put pressure on the soles and squeezes out the moisture each time they are worn. When shoes are left in the closet and unworn, moisture, heat and humidity begin to take their toll. Protected in the dark corner of the closet they have no stimulus to keep the fungus from growing and eating away at their value. In fact, that dark, abandoned space is the perfect environment for fungus growth. When my mother came home, she looked the shoes up online and found out that they were still available to buy and quite pricey, in fact, and she was perturbed that they would have fallen apart like that. Knowing how dry rot happens, now, it’s really not the fault of the shoe’s maker. It’s truly the fault of the owner that forgot about them and left them unused for so long. When she first purchased them, she was so proud of them that she didn’t want to wear them out too quickly. She wanted to take good care of them and that is why she kept them stored so nicely in their little bags in the box. Now, years later, she has lost the ability to wear and enjoy them and while they looked brand new when she proudly pulled them from the box that morning, she realized that she had let too much time pass and now the value and enjoyment of wearing them was gone.
The Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about how excited we get when we acquire something new that we love: a new pair of shoes, a new car, a fresh new cup of Peppermint Mocha on Black Friday signaling that the Christmas season has officially begun! But the beauty and value of things on this earth doesn’t last forever. They get used up and they wear out and then we want something else. But there are gifts that were given to us by God that won’t wear out or be used up if we yield those gifts to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to use us as a vessel for His presence.
The Bible says, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17
For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Romans 11:29
There are a few things that we need to remember when it comes to God’s gifts.
1.) The Gifts From God Will Never Be Taken Away, But It’s Up To Us How We Use Them
There are people who are gifted and talented but are using their gifts for their own personal gain and are leading others away from God by their blasphemous message. We need to realize that their gifts are from God even though they are not using them the way He intended. Have you ever given someone a gift and watched them misuse or abuse that gift? You may wish that you had never given it to them in the first place, but just like these scriptures, what’s done is done and you can’t take it back. God doesn’t “take it back” either but if we choose to misuse or never use it, we will give an account for our lack of stewardship over that precious gift from God. One day God will call all of us into account of how we used what He gave us and how it affected His kingdom. We should yield to the Holy Spirit and let Him lead us in how to use our gifts and allow Him to lead us to where He wants us to utilize them. Building His kingdom on this earth is the reason He has gifted any of us.
2.) When We Put Our Gifts On a Shelf And Don’t Use Them, They Are Worthless
My mom’s shoes looked beautiful and pristine when she pulled them from the box, and she remembered that she had forgotten the value of this gift. But the lack of use made them worthless. They weren’t wearable anymore and couldn’t do what they were created to do, protect her feet. What gift has God given you that you have put on the shelf? Has He given you the gift of singing, speaking, writing, serving, giving, loving? There are so many gifts. The fact that He gave you THAT gift means there is someone connected to you that needs you to use that gift for the purpose God intended. So much depends on that. On another note, as we learned with the shoes, wearing them may have made them look worn, but it would have protected them from dry rot and kept them doing what they were created to do. You may have been serving God for years and think that you gift is no longer usable. While you may feel “worn out” know that there is always a purpose for you in the Kingdom and God’s gifts are still reaching people when you are yielded to the Holy Spirit.
3.) God’s Gifts Don’t Dry Rot!
Unlike my Mom’s shoes, the gifts that God gives us CAN be taken out of the closet and used even when we have stuck them back for a time and forgotten them. After losing my husband to cancer and all that has gone on during this unexpected journey, it has sometimes been difficult to use the gifts God has given me. Many times, the enemy has caused me to question whether I really have been given those gifts at all. Circumstances in life can cause us to question our gifts and purpose. But the Bible is clear that all these “good gifts” are from the Father who never changes and who never takes back a gift that He has given (James 1:17). The Bible tells us that He is always faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9) when we repent and pull those gifts out of the closet and yield, once again to His purpose for giving them to us in the first place. We are seeing a surge of secular entertainers coming to the saving knowledge of Christ and finally using the gifts that were always from God for the purpose that He always intended. The result is that multitudes are coming to Christ. That just shows that it is never too late to pull that gift out!
I encourage you today to dig deep into that closet of your heart and pull out those gifts that you know you have shoved way back there. It really doesn’t matter what the circumstances that led you to shove them back there are. Grief, anger, bitterness, hurt, rejection, betrayal are among a long list of weapons the enemy uses against us to get us to hide these gifts. Satan is so afraid of us using those gifts for the purpose that God intended that he fights us, daily, in our mind, that they are unimportant, but that should make us want to bring them out and dust them off even more. Dig them out friends and let the Holy Spirit use you. There is a world out there just waiting for you! I know because the Bible tells us so . . .
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19