What if you gave someone a really wonderful, powerful, life-changing gift and they thanked you, put it on the shelf and went on with their life without ever really unwrapping it, taking it out of the box, examining it, learning how to use it and what it can do? You obviously can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do or aren’t ready to do. But what if it was your kid and you gave him the coolest toy, game, learning tool, sleep aid and energy drink all in one? He looked at it, loved the idea, even talked about it to his friends in excitement, and then put it on the shelf where he would look at it sometimes and smile, happy with the idea of having it, but thinking he really didn’t deserve it – never really actively receiving and using it.
Can you imagine the frustration you would feel, as a loving parent? To know what a powerful tool you have provided but watching as it wasn’t fully received and utilized? You would probably start trying to speak to him about it, to teach him the benefits. You would give him books on it. You would arrange for people to come into his path that are really using those they have been given. You would gently guide him into understanding. Or, being human, you would throw a mini-tantrum and tell him he better start experimenting with it and playing with it or you are taking it back. Seeing what it would do for him and what it cost you, you would really want him to use it to improve every aspect of his life, not just a small corner of his little world of his bedroom.
What if you have been given that gift? What if you accepted it with thanks and yet, not fully understanding it, nor believing you are worthy on some level, you have it on your shelf right now. Take a look. It is there. It is waiting. It is God’s grace. It is there to be received and applied every single day. To yourself and to others. But put your own oxygen mask on first. You are only then able to fully help others.