It was a month after Christmas and four friends gathered for their annual White Elephant gift exchange with a twist. The rules were to pick the one gift you received that you least liked and give it to someone else. The four ladies picked the gifts they liked least and brought the gifts to dinner for the exchange. The gifts up for grab were:
- Season box seats to the Bears’ games
- An all-expense 7-day trip to Switzerland for two
- A year of a personal chef and maid
- A $20,000 shopping spree
One by one the ladies opened their new gifts. Instead of excitement or shock, they looked as if they received typical white elephant gifts. Katherine received the $20,000 shopping spree, but as the CEO of Ann Taylor Loft, she didn’t need any additional clothes. Marissa is the CEO of Yahoo! and received the personal chef and maid for a year but she enjoys cooking with her family and keeps her house pretty clean. Indra opened the 7-day trip to Switzerland, which she frequently travels to and for work. Lastly, Dene` received box seats to the Bears’ games but she does a lot of business with the Bears’, so she already owns box seats.
All the gifts were great but seemed to work better for the person who originally received it and was pretty useless to the secondary person. They all laughed and passed the gifts to the original owners – who thought they had bad gifts until they received something they couldn’t use.
“There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’ “But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’ “When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done. “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’ “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’ “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’ “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’ “The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’ “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’ “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’ “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’“He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag. (Luke 19:12-26, The Message)
I wonder in this game of life if we played white elephant and brought our worst gifts to the table would we be open to exchanging them with someone else’s worst? Would we even need those gifts with our purpose? As 2014 ended, I was constantly reminded to be patient, wait on God’s timing, not to be anxious, and to remain thankful for the gifts that I have.
I come to You as a surrendered vessel that You may use me for Your will. God, I ask for forgiveness for not honoring the gifts You’ve given me. I promise to move forward diligently this year operating in and strengthening the gifts You’ve given me instead of burying them. God, I will not complain when I see others’ gifts but be thankful for what You’ve supplied and multiply them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Ladies, I EMPOWER you to use the gifts the LORD trusted you with. He allows us freedom in how to use our gives and gives us favor to operate in our purpose. God does not want us to sit on our talents or be unproductive with them, but he wants us to invest our talents and gifts. It doesn’t matter how large or small you feel your gifts are, honor them and honor Him.
Which of your gifts will you promise to strengthen this year?
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Teach a child about his legacy and his dream!
Ms. Dené B. is a student of life who enjoys human studies and social media. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago where the motto is “Preparing People to Lead Extraordinary Lives,” She took her education and school spirit to heart and now is a young adult striving to live an extraordinary life while helping others achieve the same. With a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and minors in Sociology and Visual Communication, Dené’s worked at a top PR firm but her greatest accomplishments resides in volunteer work with Autism Speaks and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Currently, she finds herself pursuing a vision God placed in her of starting her own business. One of her go to scriptures is, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).