Expression

I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
Psalm 139:14-16

“Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.”
Marlon Brando

God gives to each a gift to express,
its type or size is immaterial;
That our gifts are given expression
is the thing.
Our nature seems to be to compare how we’ve been made
with others,
but that’s akin to comparing crocodile feet
with bird wings.
One is not greater,
or of higher quality
than the other.
They’re each perfectly made
for fulfilling their being.

© Joel Tipple 12/02/2018

A Gift of Kindness

Christmas tree

He has told you, oh man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

Justin sat on his bed with a pad of paper and pencil, his legs crossed and eyes drawn together as he concentrated on the task at hand, writing what ostensibly was to be his yearly Christmas list. He’d been following what was now his yearly tradition for some time, since he decided he was too old to ask Santa for anything directly but not too old to make a list and hint to his parents that they could pass on ideas to the jolly one if they wanted to. It was normally as easy a task as you’d expect it to be for a boy his age. Just like anyone else he was bombarded with advertisements for this toy and that, games galore, electronics sure to make him the envy of his friends. Those things still held a strong attraction, but his perspective on the world and his place in it was changing. There was something in the air, something tense, like the feeling he got before a test at school when he hadn’t studied enough. It seemed like he was noticing the adults in his life getting more and more irritable, a little like when the flu went through his school and so many kids were out sick.There was this mean way people were treating each other that was going around. Once, when his grandfather caught him being mean to his little sister he sat him down and said, “Justin, do you know how important you are to your little sister? “No,” he said. “Well, you are. There are some things that she will learn best if she learns them from her family. If you teach her how to be kind she has a much better chance of growing up to be a kind person. That’s very important. It’s what Jesus taught. It’s also a fruit of the spirit.” So, it was with these ideas that seemed on the verge of being a little too big for him and God tugging on Justin’s heart that he began his list, though, as he wrote, it seemed more of a plea.

Justin’s Christmas list.

Mom and Dad would you be kind this Christmas?
Please, for that day set aside the words that hurt.
I’m sure you plan on giving us the best of all the toys,
but maybe you forgot what little girls and boys
need most of all.
Please be kind for Christmas.

In Sunday school we’re singing
Peace on Earth.
If it’s not too hard,
I wonder if God could start
in our house?
I don’t know exactly how it all works.
It takes all I know to write this verse…
I just hope he understands, anyway.

Could we maybe talk about being kind
for Christmas?
I know I’m just a kid,
and it might be a big thing,
but if it’ll help I’ll clean my room…
How about that?
For Christmas, could we please be kind?

Yesterday at the store, Mom,
you used your outside voice
with the lady who was helping us.
I think her kids
go to our Sunday school.
She looked really sad.
Did she do something bad?
Please if it’s alright,
could we get her
some of what I want
for Christmas?
I could share.

Will there be extra kindness
for Christmas?
I think all my friends at school
could use some too.
If we have some to share
I’ll bet we could.
If I ask real nice
I think you would
for Christmas.

How much does kindness cost?
Here’s my piggy bank.
That should be a good start, I think.
How much is enough?
Quite a bit, I’d say,
but just how can you get more of it
by giving it away?

If I fall down
will you kindly pick me up?
If I can’t reach
will you help me be tall?
If I don’t know the answers,
will you help me
ask better questions?
Then, maybe my brain
won’t feel so small.

Will you be the one
to tell me all about Christmas
by showing me how Jesus lived?
I’d rather know all that
from you, Mom and Dad.
For me it would be
the kindest thing you ever did.

©Joel Tipple
#14/15

it’s not for me

my gift is not for me
not for that empty spot on my trophy shelf
not to keep me company
when i’m lonely

it’s not for holding so tight it’s crushed and ugly
or for hiding in a closet where it gets musty and moldy

it’s for fitting together with all the rest
as though part of a body Lego
forming as one to function
as our God surely knows best

it doesn’t puff out its chest or compare itself
showing the bitter side of pride
it doesn’t waste much time in the mirror
asking its reflection why

the better part of each day it spends
in deepest gratitude
looking forward to each turn of the road
as it winds and wends

© Joel Tipple
#24/14

Shopping for Gifts

Every day is a good day
to search for gifts to give.
You don’t always have to look far,
you can start where you live.
Give your family truth,
with a large side helping of love.
Use the example of Jesus,
who modeled His father above.
Give the gift of excellence at work.
Refuse to offer less.
Your work is your mirror.
Let it reflect you gave your best.
To the world give the gift of authentic hope.
To those who are drowning, send a life saving rope.

© Joel Tipple
344

A Man

stuff13 018

John Q. Person, have you considered
what it means to be a man,
since the time someone told you
you were one?
Have you just been placing
one foot after the other,
but without a genuine plan, son?

I can tell you a man isn’t passive.
He refuses to trust to luck.
He knows the size of the heart in a man
isn’t measured by the size of his truck.
He knows the best leaders are followers too.
He knows about God’s reward.
He has an almost desperate desire
to find genuine ways to serve.

He knows each man has a talent
unique and given by God.
He strives to find and develop his own gifts
while not chasing after laud.
He never stops learning.
He values laughter
and tears.
He remains forever grateful
and cherishes every year.

© Joel Tipple
302

Blossom To Be

cropped blossom

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17 (NASV)

Did you think you knew better,
blossom to be?
Your gifts are still held within.
You mistakenly guessed your time had passed,
but hoarding the gifts
God gave you is sin.
We were designed for His expression,
His joy made manifest.
He would use each of us to make His church complete,
that we all would share and be blessed.

© Joel Tipple
293