I am sentimental, and I'm not so proud that I won't admit it. I've kept things that I really have no business holding on to, whether they've gone unused or weren't needed in the first place.
I remember one particular item that I received as a gift, a sweater made out of Italian wool. It was special—so special, it had to be washed by hand. It was soft, smooth, and had a sense of worth and value to it. I never wore it, though, not even once. I thought to myself: “This is something of true worth. I better not ruin it.” So I put it in a drawer, careful to be certain where it was. For years, I knew exactly where to find it and what condition it was in, not that it did me any good.
By the time I tried to wear it, I was far too large for it to accommodate me. Disappointed, I passed it on to someone who could wear it. The experience taught me a lesson: a gift unused is a gift wasted.
Sometimes we have to ask ourselves a hard question: are we the sweater in the drawer? Are we a gift, or do we have one, that isn't being used? In not just one, but two separate parables, Jesus told His disciples about servants who had received money from their master. In one, they all received the same amount of money (Luke 19). In the other, they were given according to their measure (Matthew 25). Both stories had servants that used what they were given to bring their master increase, but also servants that wasted what was given by hiding it away. We all have talents, gifts, and skills that we've received from above; what good do they do for heaven if we never share them with earth?
I debated a long while about volunteering my gifts to the Lord's service. I have left some of the gifts He's given me hanging in a closet, thinking: “I may use it someday. I just don't want to use it until I know I won't mess it up.” A gift unused, though…
As I continue to pray and ask myself how I should use what the Lord has given me, I have to keep in mind that He will tell me. God wouldn't have given it to me if He were worried I might ruin it.
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6).