February 2022 by Kate Kleinert, OFS, Regional Minister

Valentine’s Day!  The day celebrating love and giving a gift to your sweetie.

It’s also a good day to reflect on the gifts God has given you.  He gave them to you with love and He gave them to each and every one of us.

Some people jump in right away and say I don’t have any gifts.  I’m not good at anything.  I’m not talented.  Well, that just isn’t so.  God gave each of us many gifts and it’s an insult to Him if we aren’t using them.  You know how you feel when you have spent a great deal of time deciding on a gift, finding just the right one, wrapping it carefully and then wait joyfully for the time to give it.  If the receiver doesn’t ever use the gift, you feel cheated and a little hurt.  You put a lot of effort into it and the other person doesn’t appreciate it.  I wonder if God feels the same way?

God gave us specific gifts for a reason.  Sometimes that reason isn’t so easy to figure out and sometimes our gifts aren’t so easy to see, either.  But they are there, and it’s our job to cultivate them and offer the fruits back to God.

That is the message in Matthew, Chapter 25.  I never quite understood this story.  It’s the one about the Master given the talents to the three servants.  The first servant invested the talents and made many more.  The second servant did likewise.  But the third servant, afraid of losing the talent that belonged to the Master, buried it.

When the Master asked for it back, the servant dug it up and returned it.  Now here is where I always got confused.  The Master was angry.  But I could not figure out why.  After all, the servant didn’t spend it.  He didn’t gamble it away; he didn’t forget where he buried it.  But the reason the Master was angry is because the servant didn’t put the talent to good use.  It wasn’t helping anyone by being buried.

If you still cannot figure out what your gifts are, stop and think about what it is that you are good at.  Are you a good listener?  Clever with your hands?  Able to trouble shoot computers? A good cook?  What do people tell you, you are good at?  These things were given to you for you to use to glorify your Lord.

I’m sure there is someone sitting here thinking the only thing I am good at is eating!  Then go out to eat with someone who is alone.  Good cook?  Make a meal for the neighbor with a new baby or a family member in hospice.  Clever with your hands?  Crochet a baby blanket and drop it off at the Mother’s Home in Darby.

There is no reason to take pride in our gifts or talents.  They came from God and really are no reflection on us.  They are part of the package.  Something that was tucked in for good measure as you made your way to Earth.  But we can take care of them, nurture them and use them.

I would love to draw.  I even took a class.  But it’s just not in there.  I don’t have that gift.  Taking classes or wanting it badly doesn’t make it happen.  I do like to write and have used that to write to a number of prisoners.  Besides writing to my friend Christy for the last 35 years, I have several other prisoners on my pen pal list.  I’m not saying that with any pride because I get much more out it than I put in.

I have been told most of my life that I have a nice singing voice.  But I could not or would not get up in front of people and use that gift.  I always felt like who did I think I was,  supposing I was good enough to do that???

It took me a long, long time before I was able to see that using that gift was not a source of pride. But not using it was the same as the servant burying the talent he was given.  I have no control over being able to sing.  But God put it in my package for a reason.  He must want me to use it.

If you are still having trouble, ask for the gift of using your gift.  After all what parent doesn’t beam when a child asks them how to use what you’ve given them.  God is waiting for you to use your gifts.  And isn’t He the last one you want to disappoint.

One of our own sisters, Donna Adams, OFS, St. John Neumann Fraternity has this quote as her email tag line.  It is from writer Erma Bombeck who many of us will remember as someone who wrote with great humor about her family.  And the quote is:  When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.Erma Bombeck

Everyone has something to offer.  Put a smile on God’s face by using what you were gifted.




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