In Japan when you give someone a gift you call your gift “tsumaranai mono” which means a trivial, boring or worthless thing. Our culture would find it strange to give someone a gift you are calling worthless, in their culture they are trying to be humble and in essence are saying you deserve much more than I am giving you. Many of the worthless gifts I received in Japan were actual very nice gifts.
Towards the end of his first letter Peter writes, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10). Thinking of the verse we get this neat picture of God giving us gifts that we use to serve others which become an expression of God’s grace to the person we serve. That God would give us gifts by itself is amazing, that He would give us these gifts so that we could display His grace to others in us is far beyond what we deserve.
Our thoughts regarding these gifts that God gives us could easily go to, “Wow they must be something really extra-ordinary in order to display God’s grace.” However I would encourage you to read the verses surrounding this verse. You will find extra-ordinary gifts like praying, loving deeply, hospitality, speaking God’s Word, and serving. These are things that we all are equipped as Christians to do and we all can do right now, there is no missing ingredient we need in our walk with Christ in order to do these things. Sadly, we might be prone to label these gifts as trivial or boring yet God has a very different view of them.
May our Heavenly Father help us to view the gifts He has given us not as tsumaranai mono, but as priceless and when offered sincerely God is able to come alongside the gift in the power of His Spirit and display the grace of our Father in a wonderful way.
- Steve Selle