Friday, October 28, 2011


“What has God given you? Moses had a stick, David had a slingshot, and Paul had a pen. Mother Teresa possessed a love for the poor; Billy Graham, a gift for preaching; and Joni Eareckson Tada, a disability. What did they have in common? A willingness to let God use whatever they had, even when it didn't seem very useful. If you will assess what you have to offer in terms of your time, your treasure, and your talents, you will have a better understanding of how you might uniquely serve."

From The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

When Betsie was little, she could often be found doodling and drawing away. She became quite the artist long before she could read. She'd make birthday cards for grandparents, design detailed creations for homeschool assignments, and even disobediently scribbled on the walls and furniture. As she grew older, she began to decorate her journal pages, draw unsuspecting subjects during sermons, and even took a couple of art classes offered through a local college. But as much as she loved creating, she never imagined that God would use it on the mission field.

Last spring, Betsie spent two months in Thailand. Her main job was to work in the office, help out her host missionary family as needed, participate and serve in the church's ministries, and teach English. She also hoped to minister frequently at a local children's home.

She never imagined that her artwork would be part of that equation.

The first way God put her artistic skills to use was by making visual aids that her missionary "boss" would use in the self-defense classes he offered to local women. Betsie's poster-sized drawings were used to illustrate principles that Jon was teaching the women, including principles that he'd use to tie in various teachings about Jesus and the Christian faith.

The second way God used her skills for His kingdom was to minister to some of His precious "least of these". Many of the Hill Tribes people in Northern Thailand experience very limited employment opportunities and extreme poverty. Many families are unable to provide the basic needs of their children and still other children are left orphaned with no extended family to provide for them. Various homes have been established through out the area to help take care of these children and give them the opportunity to be educated.

A handful of these homes are connected with the Ba'an Athitaan Church where Betsie was based. Betsie had the amazing opportunity of getting to spend time with many of these children. One in particular, she visited many Saturdays. Betsie quickly learned that these children, girls in the case of this home, did not see themselves as the beautiful, precious children that they really are. She wanted them desperately to see themselves as the beloved children of the Heavenly King and Father. She wanted them to see themselves for the lovely treasures and royal heirs that the Father sees them as.

So Betsie spent hours upon hours, day after day, pouring her love for them into her drawings. And the Saturday before she returned to the States, she visited them at their home, shared her heart --- and the Father's heart --- with words and images.

Each girl, and the one, sole, little boy, were given a drawing that Betsie made of them. A drawing that captured their unique beauty in the hopes that through the images, they'd be able to catch a glimpse of how God and those around them saw them. How worthy of love they really are. That they'd be able to rest in the security of the Father's love, salvation, and provision.

Seeing each of those children receive their drawings is a special memory that I will always treasure. Watching Betsie's gift be used by the Father was so very sweet.

And just as God used Betsie's gift to help those children see themselves as He does, God is working in Betsie's life to show her the way He sees her. Just this week, we were talking about how her talent was used in Thailand. It really surprised her that God could use her ability to draw for His kingdom. It had really and truly never dawned on her that it was something that He could use for His glory.

Isn't that how it is with us so often? It is so easy to see our failings or our lack. It is so easy to compare our gifts and talents, or lack thereof, to those who seem so much more skilled and capable. We forget that the same God who used a little boy's generous heart and his few fishes and loaves to feed thousands can also use us. We forget that the same God who used the responsible spirit of a big sister to save her baby brother Moses can also use us.

We forget.

But God never forgets. He doesn't forget them. He doesn't forget us.

He is the one who created us. He is the one who designed us with our temperaments, talents, minds. He is the one who fashioned us with gifts that seem common and gifts that seem supreme. But all can be used by Him and all will be used by Him when we just step out and offer them freely.

So what has God given you?

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