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For those of you who know my family well, you will not be surprised by the fact that as I was searching through my freezer last week I came across a bag of, well, let’s say, “unique, unlabeled weirdness”. My youngest son and I could not imagine what these items were, so we finally settled on the notion that they must be sausages. After all, they were gray, oblong, individually wrapped with care, no label anywhere, so (we decided) it must be my husband’s doing. If my husband cared enough to save it, that means it had to be meat. So, we deduced that these weird items must be sausages. I somehow recalled that my sweet man had come home with some kind of leftovers after a men’s meeting one night, so my son and I determined…this must be it. These sausages looked gross to us, but I knew my husband would be extremely excited. After all, how many times do you open a freezer and have sausages that you had forgotten were even there?
A few hours passed and my husband came home for lunch. I, of course, asked him about these sausages. He examined them and became quite excited (as perdicted). He couldn’t remember any sausages, but wow! He was not going to let that stop him from the enjoyment. He proceeded to take one to his office to microwave for a snack later. Let me tell you there was a bounce in his step as he went on his way!
I received a text just a few, short minutes later (his office is quite close) that read, “NOT sausages (frowny face) frozen bananas.” Yes, you read correctly, the offending “sausages” that had not been labeled were actually my cherished, frozen bananas. At one time I had big plans for these bananas, but alas… I forgot about them and now they just looked like a bunch of sausage.
My husband was sorely disappointed, but I was left laughing my head off and then, well, I was convicted. It made me think about how many times I have mislabeled things in my life. I have often looked at a gift from God and labeled it as a “sausage” when in reality it was a beautiful banana. I have often taken the talents that God has instilled in me and refused to look at them as He desires. I view them as worthless and meant for someone else when in reality it is my heart’s desire with a different look than I expected. I have often looked at my gifts as an offense when God sees the beautiful plan He has designed for just that ability.
I was also convicted because I have often caught myself looking at other people’s “bananas” with longing, but labeling my own gift as a sausage. I see their talents as beautiful, yellow, perfectly ripe bananas, but look at my own as a grayish, unappealing, unrecognizable concoction. I need to be reminded that I Corinthians 12:4 – 6 says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.” These verses tell me that no matter the gifts, we all have the same Lord. That’s what matters, our God. He is the One that sees us through, not our gifts.
Remembering this makes me unconcerned about someone else’s gift and not ashamed of my own because I know God is my God just as He is their God. My face is continually looking to Him and when His hand moves, or His voice speaks. I am enthralled because He is my all in all. I don’t see bananas, or sausages because my eyes are filled with Him. The psalmist says in Psalm 27:8, “When Thou didst say, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O LORD, I shall seek.’” That needs to be us. That needs to be our focus…God alone; not whether or not our gifts look the same as someone else’s.
I was convicted in another way when I began to think about how often I have labeled experiences that God has given me as “sausages”. In reality, these experiences were in God’s plan to nourish me and to make me become a healthier person, spiritually speaking. Sometimes, I have taken God’s beautiful banana and frozen it with my bitterness so that it turned into something gray, gross and distorted. Instead of remembering that “His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts” as Isaiah 55:8 says, I deemed His ways as hurtful, unhealthy and not for my good. In reality though, He was molding me and shaping me into His beautiful likeness.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “…lay aside every encumbrance [think sausage] and the sin which so easily entangles us [think comparisons] and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” This verse tells us clearly to lay everything down, get on with our Christian race and fix our eyes on Jesus. He’s at the finish line and He’s with us every step of the way.
When are eyes are fixed on Jesus, whether He chooses our gifts to be sausages, or bananas we are thankful because we know He can be trusted. If He chooses our talents to be meaty, or a little fruity, it’s okay because we are not fixated on the gift, we are fixated on Him.
Let’s encourage each other today to re-examine the labels that we have place on things in our lives. Let’s re-examine the labels we have place on ourselves, our talents and our experiences. What you have deemed a “sausage” might be a banana after all. It might be the very thing that God has bestowed on you to reach this generation. So, fix your eyes on Jesus, unthaw your gift and finish your race.