“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
While grace is a foundational element necessary for “re-gifting” Jesus style, this next component is just as critical. This is part two of a four-part series taken from a sermon I preached entitled, “The Art of Re-Gifting”. In my previous post, I wrote about the grace that Jesus displayed as He overcame His tiredness and the cultural expectations in order to share the gift of Himself. The context of this series of writings is the story of Jesus and His encounter with a Samaritan woman, recorded for us in John 4:4-42. In this encounter, we see the importance of doing Inventory.
The story begins with a simple request by Jesus for a drink. While the response that Jesus gets does not appear to be enthusiastic, or even welcoming, He quickly leads the conversation in a direction that reveals that He has already done an inventory of His situation. When the Samaritan woman questions the entire basis for this conversation, Jesus begins to reveal to her just what it is that He has to offer. Jesus was confident in who He was and in what His purpose was. His personal inventory revealed that He had water to offer this woman that would fully satisfy her thirst. He could supply living water that would provide a relief of her thirst in such a way that she would never thirst again.
As we encounter people that God has called upon us to “re-gift” His indescribable gift to, it is imperative that we have done the inventory and know what it is that we have to offer. Many times we encounter people and interact with them in a variety of ways, never once recognizing that we had something to offer them. We must take inventory daily of just what it is that we have in Christ that He has called us to offer to others. This repetitive inventory serves as a constant reminder of what God has given us. The more that we keep that in mind, the more likely we are to remember our obligation to share it with others.
There is a second inventory that Jesus initiates in this story. He gently forces the Samaritan woman to take inventory of her own life. He does this with a simple, and on the surface, non-threatening request: “Go and get your husband”. It can be easy to miss, but this required an inventory of life to be taken. A decision was made to tell the truth. She could have simply said, “Okay”, and gone and gotten the man she was living with. Instead, she takes a serious inventory and discovers that her need is great. In the next article, I will look at the response that her inventory brings out of her.
In our interactions with people, we need to learn how to help them take inventory and discover their great need. We must find non-threatening, yet direct, ways to challenge people to look deeper into their lives than they ever have before. We may be confident in our own inventory of what we have to offer, but until the person across from us realizes that they need what we have, we will rarely get very far in our attempt to share with them the indescribable gift of God.
How are you doing in taking inventory? How confident are you of what you have in Christ Jesus? Are you confident enough to know that you have something of great value to share? How well do you do in helping others take inventory in their life? Do people recognize that you are trying to help them receive something of great value? Are you able to ask challenging questions without coming across as condemning?
I pray that you excel in these two aspects of inventory so that you will be effective in “The Art of Re-Gifting”!