I was on a bus trip last fall through a number of countries, and along the way our guide would point interesting things out the window. During one very long travel day, she drew our attention to the fields we were passing. At one time they had been fertile, producing an abundance of crops that were enjoyed by the locals and exported around the world. For many years the fields had now be left unattended, with no planting or tilling or care, and were now over run with weeds and desolate.

In contrast, the next country we arrived in an hour later had lush fields. They were obviously well cared for and cultivated, and the result during this harvest time of year was beautiful. Field after field of plants growing, thriving, and producing so much food! This country was benefiting greatly from these fields being used.

This striking contrast came to mind recently as I was reading Paul’s first letter to Timothy. He reminds Timothy (and us) to not neglect the gift that is in you . . . put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress (1 Timothy 4:14-15). Timothy had received gifts to be used for God, but only by putting them into practice and cultivating them, could there be results.

There have been times when I have not cultivated, cared for, devoted myself to the gifts God has given to me. I assume I am trained enough, my gift is fine the way it is, and growth does not happen. Other times I have not used my gifts but have put them aside to do other things. My gifts are useless, my fields are empty, and nothing is planted for God. In contrast, there have been times in my life when my gifts are being nurtured and cultivated. I am devoted to training them, and therefore I am planting and producing for God.  What an amazing lush place to be!

If you feel desolate in your work for God, check on your gifts. Are they being neglected or being put into practice? Devote yourself to growing your gifts for God. The land will be fertile again and the harvest will come.

By Linda Wolfe, Glen Acres Baptist Church