Core Value 39: Could blessings become burdens?

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Core Christian Value

Our talents, wealth and gifts are accompanied by this instruction: To whom much is given, much is required. The capacity to love is a gift freely given by God. Spend this resource!

Have you ever thought about the notion that great gifts create great obligations as well as great opportunities? You have heard or you will hear the following statement about great gifts: To whom much is given, much is required. You could look at that statement in reverse and say “if you don’t have much, I guess that not much is required of you”. Do you feel you don’t have much? Is having “much” always about money, real estate or other tangible assets? No, there are persons whose wealth lies in their heart. They have received the gift of love and they are able to give of it freely.

Would you say that “having a heart to give support, love, and care to others” is a gift? What if you do not exercise the gift? Is it still a gift? Suppose the gift is made freely available to you but you decide to “pass”, a sort of no thanks to the offer of “receiving a new heart, one that freely gives love and support to others.” There are those who yearn to be righteous, to be like Jesus, but who can’t seem to get there. One of those persons was Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who came at night when no one would see him and asked Jesus how He could be doing such marvelous things unless He was from God. In effect, Nicodemus wanted to do the things and have the heart for people that Jesus had. Jesus explained:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus went on to say: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.'” JOHN 3:3, 6-7 NKJV

The Prophet Ezekiel clarified what it means to be born again, to have a new heart: “…I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. EZEKIEL 11:19-20 NKJV

To be born again is to receive a new heart, one that is capable of love beyond the heart we were born with. Ezekiel goes on to say: “…get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” EZEKIEL 18:31 NKJV Here we learn that a new heart also means a new spirit, one in which His Spirit and your spirit become as one. King David makes the same point. Listen: “0 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” PSALM 51:10 NKJV

What gifts has God given you. Do you feel that God has heightened expectations of you because of those gifts? Would you rather not have the gift if the expectations are so high? Where do you feel you can turn for the strength to fully utilize your gifts? Does it seem that a gift not utilized might be taken away? (See MATTHEW 25:14-29)

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