Simple Gifts

 

I watched as the car turned slowly into my neighbor’s driveway, and saw her gently slide out of the backseat on her husband’s arm.

My friend had an emergency appendectomy two days ago. What a shock it must have been. But now, her two young boys and husband were rejoicing at her safe return. I rejoiced too, but I was concerned about her recovery.

How could I help her? How I wish I had some amazing talent that would take away her pain or put her at ease. Anything I could think of just didn’t seem good enough.

I could cook a dinner. That seemed like such a small thing. I’m not a very inventive or adventurous cook either. But I had to admit I couldn’t think of anything else.

Her husband answered the phone. He sounded so relieved when I offered to cook. “Can you bring a dinner tonight?” I quickly agreed, but as I hung up, I wondered what I could throw together on such short notice.

Two hours later, I walked up to my friend’s front door with a tuna noodle casserole, salad and some rolls. I felt a little embarrassed to offer such a plain meal, but it was taken gratefully.

Later that week, one of her boys returned my dish along with a note. My friend wanted the recipe for the tuna casserole! I was so surprised that I just stood there with the card in my hand for a few seconds. The dinner was so simple, yet it was so appreciated.

This experience taught me a lot about the talents that God gives all of us. Hoping to bring some joy and comfort to a friend, I longed for a huge, flashy gesture that would sweep in and solve every problem and pain. Sometimes I think the bigger the talent, the better it is. But I’m so wrong.

God celebrates every word and work I do for someone else. He doesn’t value my gifts and talents in terms of size. Everything I offer is important and precious to him. He loves to see me use what he has given. Not only do I serve his precious people, I also glorify his wonderful gift.

I may not be a gourmet cook, but the Lord knew this family didn’t need a chef. They needed a hot meal to celebrate a homecoming. If I hadn’t made that call, their first night home might have been a little more chaotic.

I know I’ll look at my God-given gifts differently now. Every single ability I have reflects the life of the one who gave them to me. How can I think that they are not good enough? My Father gives a share of his gifts to all his people in the Spirit. They are all beautiful, powerful and necessary because they are all his. So now it’s up to me to spread his life my applying those gifts given so generously.

Instead of busily measuring them, I need to get busy using them.

I may never know how much my talents are appreciated, but that night, I did. I found out that the simple gift of a casserole was as precious as a pot of gold.

 

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74 thoughts on “Simple Gifts

  1. Can I bring over a casserole tomorrow night to celebrate your return to blogging?

    How’s tuna noodle sound?

    ;-}

    So good to hear you sharing life and His love once again. Gosh, you’ve been missed. And I KNOW I’m not the only one to think that …

    Hugs.

    • Hi Linda! Sure! Come on over and let’s party for sure πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your warm welcome back, I can’t believe it’s been two weeks already. It’s great to see you back too, when I went on break, you were gone several weeks too! Hopefully, we are both rested and ready to get back to it.

      Big hug right back my good friend,
      Ceil

  2. So often we hold back thinking someone else could do the job better or offer something better or say things better. But God doesn’t look at us that way–He sees a willing heart and blesses our efforts. Great post, Ceil!

    • Hi Pam! That’s another good point that I didn’t really address. That whole ‘someone else will do it better’ thing. We have the best Father ever, and as you said, he doesn’t judge or wait for perfection.

      Go into the fields today. Today! We don’t have to wait, we are called to get busy πŸ™‚
      Nice to see you again!
      Ceil

    • Hi Dayle! You are so right, but for some reason, I just thought I should be making filet mignon or something. Tuna casserole just seemed so…ordinary. But what little kids are going to eat filet?
      You are such a good cook, I bet you would have come up with a delicious dish.

      I do thank God that they liked it and that I could be of some help. That’s what really matters πŸ™‚
      Have a great Monday Dayle!
      Ceil

  3. Ceil,
    What a precious post!
    I loved what you said “instead of busily measuring them, our gifts, I need to get busy using them.” That is so very true!
    What a blessing you were to your friend and her family, and a testimony of God’s love poured out through you.
    Sweet blessings, Debbie

    • Hi Debbie! Thank you for your kind words about the post. I’m just glad that I could help out, even though I felt my gift was very small. Fortunately, that’s all they really wanted…something to eat. Can’t underestimate the power of a simple gift, that’s for sure.

      Have a wonderful Monday πŸ™‚
      Ceil

    • Hi Mindy! I should have been reminding myself of just that very thing my friend. You are a step ahead of me (as usual!). I think it’s very true that a willing heart is the best gift we can bring to him, and he will empower that as he sees fit.

      Wishing you a powerful day πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  4. Such a good word. I often feel that my cooking or offerings when I want to show hospitality in my home would be too simple. But then God reminds me of many times when I’ve had the simplest but best things in someone else’s home. How wonderful it can be. I’m sure that family really appreciated your casserole. It can taste so good when you really need a home cooked meal.

    • Hi Joyful! You make such a good point. Who cares what the size of the gift is, as long as it’s needed? That really was something I learned in this whole situation. I was wishing I could do something fancy, but really, that wasn’t what was needed. That’s what I needed!

      I have to remember that I’m serving others, not myself. Thank you for your insight!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

  5. Hi Ceil! Lovely to see you back πŸ™‚ Yes, it’s not the size of the gift that matters before God, but the state of our HEARTS in what we give. This post reminds me so much about learning the art being faithful in little, if I want to be trusted more. Oh Lord, help me! Great post and beautiful word of encouragement this morning!

    Thanks for being there for your friend and her family. I pray quick healing and restoration for her. God bless you and have a great day πŸ™‚

    • Hi Shade! It’s great to be back, thank you for the warm welcome!

      My friend did heal very well. Her little boys are grown and have children of their own. The situation was a great memory, and I still think about how mortified I was to bring such a simple meal. But that’s just what they needed. Most of the time, simple is the best, don’t you think?

      Have a great day! So good to see you again πŸ™‚
      Ceil

    • Hi Lauren! I think you understand exactly what I was trying to say. No matter what we have to give, we have to give it. Talents and gifts are meant to be given away. God loves everything we can do!

      Have a great Monday!
      Ceil

    • Hi Chris! I like the way you said ‘the beauty of the simple’. That really is the key, isn’t it? Sometimes the big stuff is just stuff, and too complicated to enjoy. This family just wanted to celebrate a homecoming. What was on the menu probably didn’t matter much at all.

      Thank you for your blessings! Hope you have a great Monday πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  6. What a wonderful story and example of using your gifts to serve others. It can be so easy to judge our gifts from a human standpoint and feel as though they aren’t important. But God values our gifts and wants us to use them to glorify Him and build up one another. I’m so glad you offered your neighbor a home cooked meal and that is was so appreciated. You have caused me to consider ways I can so likewise.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie! How nice to see you today πŸ™‚

      I’m glad you brought up the judgement part. It’s so true that we can be so hard on ourselves, thinking that what we have is so little. Who told us that? Certainly not God. He gives the best, ALWAYS. Small usually isn’t seen as small, but a beautiful thing!

      Have a great Monday,
      Ceil

    • Hi Wanda! You’ve got it my friend, you said it so well. Service and use of our talents is the big thing, not the perceived size of the offering.

      Thank you for your good wishes! It’s fun to be back again πŸ™‚
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Bill! I still make tuna noodle casserole from time to time (my husband likes it!). I’d make it for you and your family anytime πŸ™‚

      You make a good point. Large, flashy actions can sometimes backfire and become all about the flash. The small acts, like a simple meal really can leave a longer memory. I like that, thanks!
      Hope you’re having a great day,
      Ceil

  7. It really is those simple things that mean so much. My husband and I have been blessed with a couple of means in the last year- two after my surgery and one after my father in law died. Those things meant so much to us. That you for the reminder that the small things are important too. Have a good day~ Lisa :0)

    • Hi Lisa! Your comment reminds me of when my mom died. So many women from our church made sandwiches, sides and brought drinks to the funeral home for us. Nothing fancy, but we didn’t need fancy, we needed food. Thank you for that thought!

      I hope you are having a good day too Lisa. It’s still warm, in the ’70’s…just came back from a nice walk.
      Blessings πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  8. Ceil: When someone close to us has a loss in the famiy, we try to get together sandwich makings-buns, lunch meat, chips, even a dessert.etc. I did this years ago and received the nicest ‘thank you’ note. My friend note that I had sent all the things for a meal.

    A few years later, we did this for some very close friends. The young man who carried out our purchases got all excited. “You’re going on a picnic” He almost sang it as he said it several times. My hubby cleared his throat and told the young man the reason for our purchase. As I remember it, he qucily apologized.

    • Hi Cecelia! What a beautiful ministry. I mentioned in the last comment that some church friends put together a meal for my family when my mom died. It was such a comfort, and one less thing to think about at a hard time. I know your friends really appreciated your heart-felt generosity.

      Blessings,
      Ceil

  9. Praise God! Isn’t it amazing how we minimize our talents and the gifts God has given us? You’re right, God can and will use anything, we don’t need to worry about the small things, just do what we can. I think we often miss out on blessings and opportunities to serve because we down play our own worth and what we can offer.
    Thank you for sharing. It’s inspiring to hear of how a “simple” casserole is a way we can serve others and bring glory to God.

    • Hi TC! I hope you are feeling well these days?

      Sometimes I think my worst enemy is me! I can make anything sound ‘less than’ which is just not necessary or right. As you said, God wants us to use what he gave us. There’s no better or worse, it’s all good because it’s all his anyway.

      Hope you are having a good afternoon,
      Ceil

    • Hi Jeanette! That greeting card idea is such a good one. My sister in law is a champ at sending out cards for birthdays, anniversaries etc. It really is fun getting some mail that doesn’t require sending a check back!

      I see where you got you own gift for lifting up the Spirit!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

    • Hi Lulu! It’s so great to be back, and to catch up with you again!

      I’m so glad you liked the post. It was a fun memory to relive and learn from all over again.

      Have a peaceful night πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  10. That is to me a sign that you are humble servant. That you feel your gift is not something great! But what a blessing you are! You are a wonderful encouragement to me! And your gifts are so very much appreciated and as you said, a relection of He who gave them to you. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Monica! Oh, thank you for your lovely words, but I’m not so humble, believe me. But I’m glad this little episode in my life could be encouraging. It really helped me see that what I thought was so insignificant was really a treasure. I shouldn’t sell God’s gifts so short!

      So nice to be connected again! Hope you have a peaceful night.
      Ceil

  11. “Every single ability I have reflects the life of the one who gave them to me. How can I think that they are not good enough?” This brought me to tears. Thank you for encouraging me today, Ceil. By the way, I think tuna noodle casserole sounds tasty. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Trudy! Aww, thank you for your encouraging words. And I’m glad that you were encouraged in turn. Love that!

      I don’t know why I think of this casserole of being so ordinary. I really was embarrassed by the whole thing. Oh well, I know better now πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

    • Hi Debby! Oh my, I would LOVE to live close to you!! I could make the casserole, you could take pictures of it and we could feast πŸ™‚
      (It would have to be at my house though, I’m allergic to dogs and cats…and gerbils.)

      Thank you for bringing a smile with you when you commented. It made me smile BIG!
      Blessings my friend,
      Ceil

  12. What a great post, Ceil! I love the lesson that you provided. I am notorious for comparing/contrasting my *abilities* with other people. And, I’m always telling myself that I fall woefully short. But, you’re right. God’s economy does not measure things in the same way. (The last shall be first…)

    Think of the woman who gave all she had to the offering box. It wasn’t a lot monetarily, but it came from a fully committed and generous heart. I believe that is what God looks at – our hearts. And He has a way of multiplying what we give. Who knows, my two fish and five loaves might be just the *perfect* thing He uses to feed a multitude!!

    GOD BLESS!

    Welcome back! I’ve missed you…

    • Hi Sharon! What a great Scripture to bring with you! So true. The pennies were so small, but they meant everything to the Lord. And the loaves and fishes too. Great! Thank you for pointing them out. I’m sure that in his own way the Lord added spices and volume to my small gift.

      Thank you for your welcome, it’s fun to be back and reconnect. I missed you too πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  13. What a wonderful point you make here my friend. So many times I’ve had good intentions but I’ve shot them down because I’ve thought I didn’t have enough to share/offer up. I evaluated my “giftings” and gave them little merit. However, when God calls us to do, He works through us.

    I will definitely think of this the next time I try to downplay what I have to offer.

    Thanks friend!
    xoxo

    • Hi Jennifer! Your line of thinking is exactly like mine. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone! I wrote in the post that it’s pretty sad for me to think that what God has given me won’t be enough. Of course it is. I just have to dive in and get started. He’ll be right with me.

      It was definitely a learning experience for me. And I’m still learning too!
      Blessings to you and yours,
      Ceil

    • Hi Dee! Well, you are certainly right about that. But I didn’t realize it until I got the request for the recipe. I almost thought it was a joke. A recipe? For a casserole?? How little I thought of the gift God allowed me to give. Ugh. I have a long way to go, that’s for sure.

      Thank you for your visit! It’s good to connect again πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  14. Hi Ceil,
    What a beautiful post. It is not what others are able to do, but what we are able to do, and the spirit that leads us to do it, that is God ordained. We are all unique in the Lord and He knew that what you made would be perfect for your neighbours, and the spirit that led you to do this was the kindness that God has placed within you.
    God bless you and I join with you in prayer for your neighbour’s complete recovery. (Can we have that recipe too Ceil ?)

    • Hi Brenda! You are so right about the Spirit leading. I was so surprised to be asked to cook right away. That’s not what I had in mind, but it was what the family needed, and the Spirit chose and led me to help.

      This event was years ago, and my neighbor recovered completely. Her two boys are now married with children of their own. God is good πŸ™‚

      Nice to see you again Brenda! (You don’t need my recipe, you could make it twice as good as I could!)
      Ceil

  15. Hello, my dear Ceil! Your post was very touching and these words that you said went right to my heart. . .”God celebrates every word and work I do for someone else. He doesn’t value my gifts and talents in terms of size.”

    Thank you, friend, for blessing me and so many others. Hugs to you!

    • Hi Stephanie! I’m so glad you liked the post today. I know you do so much for others, this message is not new to you.

      It’s funny how embarrassed I was, but then how appreciated the meal was by the family. Just goes to show you…everything we can do has value.

      Hugs right back to you my friend!
      Ceil

  16. The Book of Mormon has a verse that says that “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.” Your simple dinner was exactly what was needed to bless your neighbors’ day. You ministered to them, following the example of the Savior.

    Thank you for commenting on my guest post at The Mom Cafe. For some reason, I’m having trouble replying to comments, but I wanted to let you know I read and appreciated your comment.

    • Hi Kristie! That was so nice of you to come over and visit, thank you! Your quote is perfect for the post, the dinner was definitely a small thing that was seen as a big thing.

      It was a pleasure to meet you at The Mom Cafe. I look forward to reading more from you πŸ™‚
      Have a peaceful afternoon,
      Ceil

    • Hi Susannah! It is amazing…I never expected to be asked for the recipe. It’s such a simple dish! But yes, it was really appreciated and I was so happy (and shocked!).

      The simple moments stick, right?
      Thank you for your visit today πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  17. This reminds me that it really is the thought that counts. Sometimes even the smallest gesture can mean so much. I know firsthand what it’s like to have dinner made like this, and it really can be such a big help. Some years ago after a friend’s father passed away, I gave her two frozen pizzas – I didn’t have time to make dinner for her but wanted to do something to help. She was thrilled with the pizzas, an easy meal that suited her family well. I know friends who haven’t had time to assemble a meal for a new mom; so they dropped off cold cuts, rolls and chips for the family. It makes a great lunch or quick dinner. You can get very creative along these lines, can’t you? πŸ™‚

    • Hi Karen! I love these ideas. What family doesn’t appreciate frozen pizza? We used to live on that when we had young children. I may tuck that idea about cold cuts and bread into my mind for another opportunity. That’s a great idea too!

      You have done some lovely things Karen. You are an inspiration to me, thank you.
      Have a peaceful night,
      Ceil

    • Hi Robin! What a lovely thing to say, and you haven’t even tried it! (You are brave…) I liked the way you put ‘simple’ next to ‘significant’. You are so right. I had no idea the meal would be such a hit.

      It really is more about the gesture and care, just like it should be.
      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Ceil

  18. When emergency crisis have hit our family in the past, just to have someone make a grilled cheese sandwich for my kiddos would have been good as gold!

    What you did, the act of kindness….it goes so far!

    • Hi Patty! I know that you are right. One less thing to think about when you’re so overwhelmed is such a gift. I guess I was just so wrapped up in what I gave that I didn’t think of it as much of a help. I learned a lot from this little episode.

      Thank you for your supportive comment about the dinner. I guess it went a lot further than I ever thought.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!
      Ceil

  19. You are so right that we all have gifts with which to help someone, even if it is the simplest action it counts! Can I tell you a story Ceil?

    Our son talks to everyone; in particular he seeks out the old and obviously lonely, sitting beside them in the supermarkets and engaging them in conversation until they smile. Because of his own disabilities he knows first hand what it is like to be on the sidelines or suffer rejection in this busy world.

    Every week we had to take our son to the Post Office. All the staff were friendly and would chat – except one… She was stony faced and abrupt and it became clear that she was also like that with her work colleagues.

    Matthew doesn’t give up easily and each week he would make sure he got her at the counter – often giving his place up in the queue if it wasn’t her he was allocated. Each week he chatted and smiled and asked her about her weekend – all to no avail… Even I told him to give up as, being his mother, I felt hurt that she seemed to be rejecting him. But Matthew said ” don’t worry I’ll wear her down!”… and he did…

    As the weeks turned into months; into years, she started talking, laughing, telling him about her weekends on their boat on a local river – trying to get him to save! If she was on leave the other staff would ask him what he had done to her as she was so much more friendly to everyone (perhaps some sadness had happened in her life which had made her withdraw into herself in the first place?)

    There is no completely happy ending though… Though younger than my husband and myself she suddenly went off sick… it was terminal… and she died within a short space of time. But I don’t believe our son’s endeavours were in vain – in the simplest way possible they enriched each others lives…

    Blessings, Andrina

    • Hi Andrina! That was a beautiful story, thank you so much for recounting it here. I think it’s an amazing gift your son has. Not only does he care, but he doesn’t give up. What a gift he was to this woman, who probably thought he was irritating at first.

      I am so sorry about her illness and death. But I know your son can be happy knowing that he made her joyful. I don’t think his efforts were in vain at all! Like you, his simple gift of friendship made each of their lives special.

      Really beautiful Andrina. Thank you again for sharing.
      Blessings to you my friend,
      Ceil

  20. What a precious and timely reminder. Yes. Yes. Yes. Each gift – despite how small it appears in our eyes – can be used by God. Often in ways we may never see. I heard someone recently say, “Man can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples those seeds will produce.” It’s not about us seeing the fruit, it’s about us being obedient to sow. Love it.

    • Hi Andrina! I have never heard of that quote before, I like it! And honestly, is it really my business what seeds flower or not? Like you said, it’s sowing them. That’s what matters.

      God can’t use a seed that sits in the package. Even if it is only tuna casserole! Thank you for this wonderful saying πŸ™‚

      Happy Wednesday,
      Ceil

  21. That is so true. It’s the little things that really help someone who is going through any difficulty in life. We really search for something we can do, but sometimes just showing up with a great casserole is exactly what they need.

    • Hi Stephanie! Thank you for your comment, I agree. It really was about the little thing, even though I was pretty embarrassed by it. At the time, I just wished I could pull off a three course dinner or something. But little boys don’t like that! I’m glad I gave them such a simple dish.

      Have a great afternoon!
      Ceil

  22. Hi Ceil, I loved that post, it reminded me of my attitude and how I don’t always think what I can do is good enough. You are right though and God has given us many gifts and talents to be used to help others. Blessings to you and yours.

    • Hi Terri! Thank you for your visit today! I’m so glad you liked this post. Feeling inadequate seems to be common, I guess we all go through that. But knowing that God is on our side, and all of our talents are precious should help us get out of that way of thinking.

      Have a great Friday πŸ™‚
      Ceil

  23. A perfect story for all of us who think we just aren’t good enough or have just the right skill or… so much more goes through our minds. Thank you, Ceil, for blessing me this evening. I also say, “Yeah” to finding your post listed on Anita’s “5 Encouraging Posts.” She is so good about sharing those who encourage her with the rest.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Hi Linda! Thank you for your kind words about the post. It’s true, I doubt myself all the time.

      Anita is a new blog-friend, and I was so honored to be one of her picks for the week. She is good at sharing and encouraging. Just like you πŸ™‚

      Have a restful night,
      Ceil

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