Like many, I spent the evening with friends watching “The Game”—Super Bowl XLV. I was with a huge group of rabid Green Bay fans, so they were happy with the outcome. As usual, I rooted for the commercials. Since I wasn’t really rooting for either the Packers or the Steelers, I dressed neutrally—green t-shirt under a yellow button down with a black jacket (with a longhorn stitched into it). If that went past you, don’t worry, you aren’t missing much.
I’m trying to decide which commercial was my favorite, the VW vs. Darth Vader, or the Doritos and Grandpa ads. The creativity shown by these and others is amazing. It reminds me of how generous God has been with His gifts to all of humanity, not just His people, and that is an expression of love and witness through general revelation to all.
Think of the athletic prowess of those players, the entertainers at halftime (I don’t say all gifts are used equally well, just that they are there!), and the ad execs. Then consider our colleagues and their intellect, skill in research and/or teaching, the generosity that so many non-believers have, and so on—the list is endless. These gifts have but one source, the Many-Gifted One, as Stephen Lawhead refers to Him.
Scripture reminds us that God causes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust, though my favorite passage is Luke 11:17-19, where Christ heals ten men of leprosy when they call upon him. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests and they will be well. Of the ten, only one, a Samaritan, returns to thank Him. As God, Jesus knew that nine would go about their lives without returning to show gratitude, yet it was His joy to heal them of their disease, to restore them to society. That is the very picture of agape—His unconditional love.
I love to listen to Celtic music, and honestly, much of it is not fit for church, but I glory in the artistry of the singers, instrumentalists and composers who weave the melodies together. I thank God for allowing people like us to bring such beauty into the Earth, even as I grieve that they do not acknowledge the source of those gifts. Their own talent is both a testament to the Giver and a snare of pride for the recipient. I find myself praying for them to hear the call of Christ to redemption, and, I must confess, part of my motivation is that I will not be deprived of their talent in eternity. Nonetheless, it does lead me to pray for them. May the gifts of those around you inspire you similarly to praise God and pray for them.