EMBRACE YOUR GIFT

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” How many times do we ask a child a question like this?  A child who may not even know how to tie his shoes; one who use scissors and can’t cut a straight line; one that hasn’t even finished middle school; or maybe one who is just learning how to parallel park!

A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE, SINGER OR A GAMER

Being a second-grade teacher, I have heard many responses to this question.  Usually, the responses are far-fetched…a professional athlete, a famous singer, a “gamer”. Rarely do I hear a doctor or nurse, teacher, firefighter, pastor, or lawyer.  Maybe we need to rethink how we approach this topic with children.  A better approach might be to say, “What kind of problems are in our world that you would like to solve?” or “How would you like to help other people in our world when you get older?”  Changing the wording to our questions opens a whole new realm of thinking. 

WE HAVE EACH BEEN GIVEN UNIQUE GIFTS ON PURPOSE

We have each been given unique gifts on purpose. God wants us to embrace the gifts and shine our light in this fallen world.  Matthew 5:16 states, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

GIFTS ARE NOT A CONTEST

When we find out what our gift is, remember to handle this blessing with care.  When we do, God will bless us more.  Matthew 25:15-16 says, “To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.  Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.”  The gifts God gives to us are not meant to be a competition or a source of envy to others.  It is not a contestIf we are faithful with what He has given us now and use it according to His purpose, we will be blessed.

RYAN’S STORY WAS A CATALYST

My daughter, Katelyn, just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Tampa. To her family, this degree is so much more than this.  Let me explain. Four years ago, a week before she was to start her freshman year, her older brother Ryan was diagnosed with leukemia. Katelyn made the difficult decision to leave her tight knit family while her brother went to University of Penn hospital to start treatment. She watched from afar as her brother’s cancer journey was riddled with complications.

Ryan became Katelyn’s cheerleader by encouraging her to continue so that she would someday help patients like him.  Ryan died two years ago, but his legacy continues. Katelyn will begin her nursing career at John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg in pediatric oncology.  God is using Ryan’s story as a catalyst in Kate’s life.  Her gift of empathy will shine as she helps families navigate the cancer journey. 

WHAT WOULD GOD LIKE YOU TO HELP SOLVE?

If we truly want to know what children want to be when they grow up, invest in helping them use their life experiences to find their God-given gifts.  See where their light shines the brightest so they can embrace their gifts to help change our broken world. Ask: “What kind of problems are in our world that God would like you to help solve?”

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