Tuesday, August 16, 2011

James 1:17 The Gifts of God

Jas 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I like to make things.  I sew, crochet, and knit various useful and beautiful things. I make jewelry and photographs. I take pride in doing these things well, and am dissatisfied when something I am working on doesn't come out as I have envisioned.

I also enjoy being praised for what I have done. I am human in that! But God teaches a different attitude, one of thankfulness and humility. He pointed that out to me recently.

I had completed a knitted shawl in soft hand-painted wool. I was wrapped in it one morning recently, talking and praying with a good friend over the phone, and God showed me that I DID NOT MAKE IT ALONE. I did not raise the sheep, or sheer them. I didn't clean, spin, or dye the wool. I didn't just automatically know how to knit: my grandmother taught me when I was a young girl. I didn't design the pattern. You get the idea.

It is the same with "my" photography: I didn't create the light or the technology which makes photography possible. I didn't buy my camera, it was a gift from my husband. I didn't give myself the ability to see through the camera in order to make an image which others find pleasing. As my friend said when I shared this insight with her, I "just pushed the button."

So why am I so pleased when someone compliments me for something "I" have made? It can only be my fallen, human nature.

It is right to use what I have been given to the best of my ability, but it is wrong to take credit for what I have not done. God made the sheep, the grass they eat, the people who care for them. He made the light, the elements which are used to manufacture the camera, and the world from which its images come. He has given me gifts: people to teach me, eyes to see with, and a brain to process information. He deserves all the praise, not I.