Here’s a little post-Christmas quiz: How many of you received at least one gift card this Christmas? How many of you still haven’t spent at least one gift card that you received this past Christmas? Gift Cards are big business. Department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and other retail businesses love to sell them. You know why? Because they know that most gift cards will never get redeemed. The Harvard Business Review reported last year that over a six-year period, $41 billion in gift cards went unredeemed. The average American home has $300 worth of unredeemed gift cards right now. Now, no matter what else I say below, I guarantee some of you will be able to think of nothing else but getting home so you can figure out how many unused gift cards you have. Think of me fondly while you’re daydreaming of free lattes at Starbucks.
For the rest of you, who plan to stick with me, I want to talk about a far more tragic waste. God’s Word tells us that each and every believer in Christ is supernaturally gifted to make a difference in the world, yet most are unaware of their gifts, and never use them. To put a finer point on it, God has looked down upon you, Christian man or woman, and has said, “Here is a little piece of my power, something only I can do. I am going to give it to you, so that you can have the joy of bringing love and beauty and hope into this dark world. I could do all this myself, but I love you too much to deny you the privilege of changing the world.” And most of us have thrown that gift in the back of a drawer somewhere in our lives and forgotten it. We’re spending our blood, sweat and tears trying to make a life of significance for ourselves, on our own terms, and the gift of God is going ignored. As I preach this year about following Jesus in the real world, I'm in a series now called “Made for More.” We’re looking at how we find our God-given, God-empowered role in His Kingdom. We’re going to start this Sunday with an overview of spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12. I hope you'll join us.