I gave in to the marketing of product placement and purchased the chew toy I found dangling in front of my face just above the dog food I was there to buy. (I am embarrassed to admit that my first Christmas purchase of the season was for our dog.) It was perfect for our porky little Yorkshire terrier, Hughie.
The Christmas Moose had very little stuffing and was sufficiently floppy. Its four legs were capped with green and red stripped “boots” which encased FOUR squeakers! Hughie’s FAVORITE part of any dog toy is the squeaker. I knew he would spend many hours attempting to “de-squeakerize” it, as that is what he does. The head, which was the only part containing stuffing, sported two fuzzy antlers and a festive red and green knit cap with a matching scarf securely fastened to its neck. Surely, you can see why I just could not resist purchasing the Christmas Moose…he was going to LOVE it.
By the time I finished getting groceries and driving home I had almost forgotten about my wayward impulse buy. When I presented it to Hughie, my expectations of his delight did not go unmet. He was wagging his tail so furiously his entire body vibrated across the floor. He grabbed Christmas Moose by his little knit cap and drug him into the living room for further inspection. Within minutes a high pitched wheezing could be heard throughout the house as he quickly discovered each of the toy’s hidden squeakers. Throughout the day, Hughie could be found doing one of two things, quietly snuggling up with his Christmas Moose or attempting to dismantle his Christmas Moose.
By evening Christmas Moose had been through a lot and had the scars to prove it. His scarf, once stitched closed around his neck, dangled by a few threads. The blanket like fur of his torso was slick with doggy saliva from much chewing and, for some odd reason, licking. Where two little felt eyes had at one time sat above his little moose snout, only one remained.
By the end of the following day, Christmas Moose had met his fate. With the help of our son’s dog Lucy, who came over for a visit, Christmas Moose lost one antler, the rest of his scarf and his fancy knit cap. Stuffing from the head floated like little white tumbleweeds across my floor and at least one squeaker had been disengaged. “What a waste” I thought to myself as I threw Christmas Moose in the trash. I did not realize this gift would suffer such an early demise from being misused and over chewed.
Lately I have been thinking about God’s gifts to us. God has given each of us talents, gifts we can use to honor and glorify Him. Is it possible that, like Christmas Moose, our gifts could be wasted? I wonder if sometimes we misuse and over chew them. It takes work to find all the hidden possibilities for using the gifts God has given us. Do we “over chew” His gifts by dwelling on negative or discouraging aspects of what He has called us to do?
As I toss a napkin into the garbage can, one fuzzy antler protrudes from under the pile of trash. I am reminded to not waste what God has given, but to use it as He desires.
And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly…Romans 12:6
Lord, You have created us each with gifts and abilities. Protect us from discouragement, open our eyes to oppertunity for service and use what You have given us to bring You honor and glory.