What Will You Do With Your Gift? Print E-mail
Below is one of Mary's devotionals that appeared on the blog of Vonda Skelton, speaker and author of Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe
"Merry Christmas! Yes, I know it's only December 1, but I couldn't wait to give you a gift of encouragement from writer and speaker, Mary McKenzie. So what makes Mary so special? Well, besides being a devotional writer, novelist, and speaker, Mary is only 18 years old! "

Mary is the daughter of Aidan and Cindee McKenzie, and Aidan is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Reconciliation Ministries. Mary not only writes a teen devotional column, Thoughts for Teens, for the Reconciliation Ministries website, but has almost finished writing her first book, and has spoken in several churches in the southeast!

It's a joy to be able to encourage Mary by sharing her words with you. I hope you'll unwrap the gift she brings and let the Lord speak to you today.

December by Mary McKenzie

The Christmas season is all about gifts. I wanted to share a story about one of the smallest gifts ever given. It's in John 6. It starts out that there was a great crowd following Jesus. They followed Him up onto a mountain. One of the first things that Jesus did when He saw how many people there were was turn to Philip and ask, "Where are we to buy bread, so that they may eat?"

Philip looked at the mass of people, an estimated 20-25,000. Philip turned to the Lord in bewilderment. "Two hundred denarii (wages for 200 days of work) worth of bread is not sufficient for everyone to receive a little." He was saying even if they worked for two hundred days and spent everything they earned, it wouldn't be enough.

Did Jesus ask this because He was just as overwhelmed as the disciples and needed some ideas to bail them out of the mess they were in? No. He had a greater plan. He was going to strengthen their faith by revealing more of His power. So He kind of put His disciple into a state of panic trying to figure out ways to feed so many people.

Then Andrew came to Jesus with a little boy. "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?"

This is where the story gets good and the point I wanted to bring you to. There is an estimated twenty-five thousand people to feed, so the disciples are trying to figure out a way to put food in their mouth.

And a little boy steps out of the crowd, grabs Andrew, and holds out his little lunch. How many of us would be embarrassed to bring such a small gift to such a great teacher?

"What is such a small lunch for so many?" some might have snickered. "How foolish for him to give away his lunch. With it being so close to the Passover, there won't be anywhere for him to buy any food." Others might have whispered.

How many of you feel your gift might be too small? How many think your efforts not enough? Let me encourage you dear precious writer (and reader). The Lord does not give gifts too small; He doesn't shun those who bring gifts that seem too small. He is looking for you. He is looking at the huge crowd of people waiting to be fed and He is watching and waiting for your little gift.

The end of the story? After the little boy had brought his little lunch, a miracle happened. Jesus blessed it and the disciples distributed it. When they were done they still had leftovers.

The following story illustrates the beauty of different gifts:

Someone once imagined the carpenter's tools holding a conference. Brother Hammer presided. Several suggested he leave the meeting because he was too noisy. "If I have to leave the shop," Brother Hammer replied, "Brother Screw must go also. You have to turn him around again and again to get him to accomplish anything!"

Brother Screw then spoke up. "If you wish, I will leave. But Brother Plane has to go, too. All his work is on the surface. His effort has no depth."

To this Brother Plane responded, "Brother Rule must leave, too. He does nothing productive; he is not able to cut wood or hold it together!"

They all fell silent when they saw the Carpenter of Nazareth walked in to do his day's work. He put on His apron; He went to the bench to make a pulpit so He could share the gospel. He used the hammer, screwdriver, plane, rule, sandpaper and all the other tools. After the day's work, when the pulpit was finished, Brother Saw stood up and remarked, "Brothers, I observed us working together today with the Lord."

God has made everything different. Your writing style might be different. Your articles shorter, your ministries smaller; but just like Jesus took that little boy's insufficient gift to use, if you're willing to give--no matter how inadequate it may seem--He can also use you.

Vonda here: What a great reminder, Mary! Thank you for sharing your words of encouragement with us. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who has been reminded that we each have something to offer. Yes, our voices may be different, but our goals should be the same: to reach out to others in the name of Christ, regardless of our ages, our preparation, or our past. We all have something to offer.