As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. – 1 Peter 4:10
Because we just celebrated Epiphany, I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple days thinking about and giving thanks for gifts—not material gifts, but God’s gifts.
And then I got news that a beloved elderly cousin passed away yesterday, and I can’t help but think about what a gift her life was, not only to her immediate family, but to me as well.
I don’t have any siblings, so cousins have always been extremely important to me. Carol married my dad’s cousin, and together they had six children, one of whom became like an older brother to me. I had always wanted an older brother, so his presence in my life was an incredible gift. I was heartbroken when cancer took him a handful of years ago, and I was saddened to hear of Carol’s passing yesterday.
I sat for awhile awash in memories of the times we would visit my cousins or they would visit us, and I smiled at the memory of all the e-cards Carol would send on nearly every holiday. Getting a message from her on Thanksgiving or Christmas was special, but even more special was the fact that she took the time to send cards for Easter, the 4th of July, and Mother’s Day. Knowing I was thought of so many times a year warmed my heart.
So as I reminisced about these family members who have passed, I couldn’t help but think of the verse from 1 Peter: “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Carol brightened so many lives with her kindness, her humor, her smile, and her love. These were gifts given to her by God—gifts she honed and then passed on to others. Isn’t this something we should all do?
We know the importance of family and that family is the foundation of society. When we take seriously the care of our families, we can feel secure in the fact that we are making a better world and helping build a culture of life here on earth.
Serving others is something we must strive to do on a daily basis, for by serving others, we also serve Christ. We live by example. We allow the light of Christ to shine through us, illuminating the path not only for us but for others. Every person’s life is an incredible gift, and we must learn to live our lives as if every day and everyone we meet are gifts.
As we begin this new year, let us reflect upon the fact that God wants us to use those gifts He has given us not only to glorify Him, but to serve others. We do this through kind words, through our actions, and with our time. So this year, let us resolve to spend less time focusing inward and more time focused outward and on others. Like my cousin, let us be gifts to others and never fail to show them how much we value them.
When we allow others to witness God’s love through us, we are giving the most incredible gift we could ever give.