16th May 2018

Use It Or You’ll Lose It?

“…here is your money. I put it away in a piece of cloth.”
Luke 19:20 (EE)

Along with a new year come new resolutions, and for me one of these was to clean and sort through my kitchen cupboards. Making the most of the momentum, I started with the corner carousels, i.e. the most awkward section. Here numerous open packets of spice overflowed their box, spilling onto the shelving, and staining it. What a mess!

At the bottom of the spice box, I came across a packet of saffron. Now this spice is special[i]. It’s made from the hand-picked stamens of a sterile crocus (Crocus sativus), whose flower is a pale striped lavender-white and being a complex hybrid that doesn’t set seed, must be propagated artificially[ii]. At one time it was extremely rare, and here in the UK it’s still rather expensive. In fact, at £10/gm, and with ~150 strands required to make up that gram, it’s considered the most expensive spice in the world. Historically used as a dye, we use it to colour foods yellow, whilst giving a delicate taste and fragrance to staples such as rice and couscous, or as a tea. Yet the fact is, it was so precious I had been too hesitant to open it, let alone use it—and so it had worked itself down to the bottom of the box where it had become dried and shrivelled and any properties it once possessed were now severely diminished. What a waste! And you may well wonder where is this is leading!

The scripture quoted above begins with Jesus telling a story of how a landowner was going away, but would return, albeit on an unspecified date. He gave three servants varying amounts of money. Two of them used this money to make more, whilst the third person (in the lead scripture) hid it away, thinking it was better to keep it safe, when in fact the simple act of putting it in the bank would have brought a return on his investment (Luke 19:11-23 and Matthew 25:14-26).   Just one of the thoughts being presented here is we should get on and use what we have been given, i.e. gifts—however large or small these are. We read in 1 Peter 4:10 “God has been good to each of you in different ways. He has given a gift to each of you, so that you are able to do certain things well. So, each of you should use your gift so that you can help other people. Then you will be God’s servants because you will be using his gifts properly.”

Will we lose these gifts if we don’t use them? The answer is no. God does not withdraw His gifts, or indeed His calling from us (Romans 11:29). Nevertheless, as Paul said to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:6) “…You must use that gift. You must make it grow stronger…” God the Father has invested in us through the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7), and it is the Holy Spirit that overcomes that fear or hesitancy we might have to use those gifts.

Next time you see saffron in the supermarket, think on the precious gifts God has given you to use.

God, help us not to be fearful of using the gifts you give each of us; rather lead us to use these talents to point to You.

Study by Irene Tibbenham


About the Author:
Irene Tibbenham is a Deaconess and serves on the Pastoral Council in the Norwich Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, a part of Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Norwich
New Hope Christian Centre
Martineau Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Tony Goudie
Phone: 01508 498165
Mobile: 07931 580409
Email: tony_goudie@wcg.org.uk

[i] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LchumfNamFo

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3221075/



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