Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends - John 10:11
The other day I watched "the Hurt Locker" with my family about the war in Iraq. The main character in the movie has a special gift for diffusing bombs. In case you have not seen the movie, I will not give anything away except to say that what happens in the end shows that this is what this man was born to do.
Jesus gave up His own life so that we could be free from sin. He is the ultimate example for all of us. There are times when following Him is not easy. I must admit to you that this morning as I was waking up, I received my inspiration for today's message and did not feel comfortable writing about it. I asked the Holy Spirit for another message. The winds picked up and the same vision was repeated.
The reason for wanting to avoid today's message has to do with "laying down your life". As a teenager, I wanted to lay down my life but it was not for the benefit of others, it was to end my pain. Now that I am older and can see more of God's puzzle, I see that my job is help others determine how they fit in and to encourage them to share their gifts with others.
What does "laying down your life" have to do with sharing your gifts? The answer is "everything". All you have to do is look closely at God's puzzle and you will discover missing pieces. Soldiers died before their time because the expert bomb diffuser was talked out of enlisting by his parents. A cure for cancer was not discovered because a mother put herself first when choosing to end her unborn child's life.
The truth is that your unique gift that you possess is really not for your own benefit, it is for the people around you. If sharing your gift means that you will help the lost pieces of God's puzzle find their place, then you are the only person who can get this job done. It may require sacrifice. It probably won't be easy.
When Jesus discovered what His Father had planned for Him, I bet He thought of one or two ideas of His own. He chose to be obedient. He died for you so that you can have new life. What will happen to the missing pieces of the puzzle if you do not share your gifts? I admit that it took a long time for me to say yes to God and start publishing. He had to knock me in the head with a 2x4 (that is what is felt like when I was reading the Bible) but I have come to my senses and I see the light.
God does not care how many times you said no to Him in the past. He does not care about the times you put your own needs ahead of others. He sent His only Son to die for you so that all of your sins could be forgiven. What God cares about today is that you turn to Him. He wants you to be part of the puzzle.
The missing pieces of the puzzle are all around you. Maybe they are the children who need to be born (or adopted) or the homeless man on the street corner that has not eaten? Maybe it is that relative that hurt you many years ago that needs to hear you say, "I forgive you"? Deep down, you already know what your gifts are. Are you ready to share?