What You Have Received as a Gift, Give as a Gift

Jas 4:13-17 / Mk 9:38-40

Hardly a day goes by without serving up ample evidence that few of us understand or at least remember the basic truth that everything we have – our life, our talents, our world – everything we have is an unearned gift from God. And that all these gifts have been entrusted into our hands FOR A TIME, with the instruction to handle them respectfully and to carry them where they're needed.

That's the truth, but we so easily forget it and come to think of our gifts as ours and ours alone, clutching them possessively to our breast. We see that in today's gospel, where the apostles are outraged that some man who was not a member of their group was nevertheless casting out demons in Jesus' name. Somehow they'd come to think of this power as something that BELONGED to them and was for their sole use and discretion.

They still had a lot to learn, and they'd not yet taken into their hearts Jesus' words, "What you have received as a gift, give as a gift."

We each have different gifts and talents, and for each of us there are people to whom God intended those gifts to be carried. Learning how to carry our gifts of time, talent, and treasure to those who need them is one of life's most important lessons. The skill and the habit of sharing our gifts will bring us life's greatest and most lasting joys.