My favorite Christmas stories are the ones where a humble hero offers the best gifts he can muster. It never looks like much on the outside.
In Why The Chimes Rang, a small child accomplishes what all the rich and famous could not with their extravagant gifts. He did what he could, with what he had.
The Little Drummer Boy, “had no gift to bring” but we keep singing about him. I could go on, but the point is not about Christmas stories it’s about you and me.
Why Our Gifts Remain Ungiven
Where do we stop because we think our gifts are too simple.
We sooth our conscience with stopping thoughts:
“I’m really not the best qualified.”
“There’s not much I can do”
“This problem is too big”
“I don’t know what to say”
“I’m not really that good around sick people”
“They probably are being bombarded with support.”
We think ourselves out of doing.
We think ourselves out of helping.
We think ourselves out of leading.
And our gifts remain ungiven.
Encouraging Reluctant Gifts
As leaders, do we look for the humble gifts available in others?
It’s easy to pre-judge potential contributions. We look for the most talented.
We go to our “go-to” guy again. We want this project to be perfect, so we don’t give it to the woman who would grow most from the experience.
A few months ago, Ben, my high-school senior son came home and told me he was going to conduct a middle school brass quintet.
I was surprised and skeptical. Ben loves music and is a competent musician.
But he will not major in music. He does not aspire to be drum major. He has never had a private lesson.
On paper, there are more kids in his school qualified for this gig. If he had asked me, I might have offered my hesitation. But he didn’t ask me. And, they asked HIM. And he said yes.
He selected the music, he conducted the rehearsals, he found venues and scheduled performances. He put on a ridiculous Christmas sweater. His gift was a gift.
Each middle school musician also trumpeted their gifts. A Blast of Brass makes beautiful music and a joyful noise.
Begin the offering, more gifts will emerge
Don’t let yourself or others talk you out of giving what is enough.