Celebrating Gifts Given – The Presence of God in Others

By Campus Missionary Mary Rowley

Often when I pray, I thank God for the gifts he’s given to me, personally. If I thank him for other people, it’s typically very simple: “Thank you for giving me family and friends who love me.” Rarely do I thank him for something specific he has given to someone else, but that’s exactly what Paul does in this passage of 1st Corinthians. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge … so that you were not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Corinthians 1:4-5, 7).

Paul knows his audience well, and he wants them to know that he thanks God for them always. It’s not a general thanksgiving; it’s specific. He knows what God has given the Corinthians and he is grateful for it. It’s not necessarily because it affects him personally. He is grateful simply because they have been gifted. He is delighted to know that they have the grace of God, the enrichment of their speech and knowledge, and the spiritual gifts that Paul himself has.

This is something we can take to heart. We can be grateful that our cousin is loving or our brother is a good speaker or our friend is knowledgeable. We can thank God for their gifts, not because they affect us personally, but because it is so wonderful to know that we are surrounded by gifted people. In a way, this can help us discover our own gifts, and as we learn more about ourselves and others, we can find more ways to collaboratively use our gifts to the glory of God. Take some time today to think about how God has gifted the people around us, and thank him for it. Only good can come out of gratitude.