Appreciate your gifts…by using them!

What are YOUR gifts?

What are your gifts? How do you express gratitude for them? How do you use them? The following story might help shed some light on how to appreciate and make the most of the gifts you’ve been given.

The Twins’ Gifts

Once upon a time there were twins named Jimmy and Johnny. They had an uncle who lived far away but visited once a year on their birthday—and he always brought them great presents!

One year he gave them each a painting set—complete with brushes, oil paints, and many canvasses. Johnny took the set without even thanking his uncle, but Jimmy was practically bursting with gratitude: “Thank you SO much, Uncle,” he said. “I will cherish this wonderful gift every day of my life!”

And it was true!

When the uncle returned the following year, he saw that Jimmy had built a shrine for the paint set, placing the brushes, paints, and blank canvasses next to a picture of his uncle, who he thanked each and every day for the wonderful gift. Once a week he took the paint set down, dusted it, and carefully returned it to the shrine.

But he never painted a picture.

Johnny, on the other hand, had used up the entire set and painted dozens of beautiful pictures.

Which reaction would you prefer?

If you were the uncle, how would you feel about the twins’ responses to the gifts? Which one would you rather see?

Personally, I love it when people express their gratitude. I love feeling appreciated, especially when I give someone a gift or do something nice for them. So I would really apprecriate Jimmy’s effusive thanks. But never using the gift sort of defeats the purpose! The whole point of a paint set is to paint!

On the other hand, I’d be happy that Johnny was actually using the gift. To me, that is perhaps the best way to you show that you truly appreciate a gift. But an actual “thank you” would be nice, too.

So, which reaction do I think is best? BOTH!

Either twin’s reaction is incomplete by itself, but together they’re a recipe for a happy life: Express gratitude for the gifts you’re given, and then use those gifts!

  • Give thanks for the gift of your body—and then use it, move it, and enjoy it! (After all, isn’t that the point of having a body?)
  • Give thanks for the gift of your mind—and then use it to think, imagine, and dream! (After all, isn’t that the point of having a mind?)
  • Give thanks for the gift of your heart—and then use it to love! (After all, isn’t that the point of having a heart?)

The same goes for any gift you’ve been given—whether it’s physical prowess, artistic abilities, a knack for numbers, or a kind heart. Give thanks, and then use those gifts! Share them! Express them! Give them to others!

The Greatest Gift of All

Also remember that regardless of what other gifts you do or don’t have, ALL of us have been given the greatest gift of all: the gift of life!

And, like the twins in the story, it is important to say thank you for this gift. It is wonderful to take time to cherish and appreciate this gift. But in addition to this, I hope you’ll give thanks for this ultimate gift…by living.


Are there specific gifts that you’ve been given that you would like to “take down from the shelf” and start using more? How can you more fully appreciate and use the gift of life itself? I’d love to read your comments–about your gifts or any other thoughts you’d like to share!

(gift photo © 123RF Stock Photos)

6 thoughts on “Appreciate your gifts…by using them!

  1. Hi Dan! Over from Jodi’s blog. Such a beautiful post and loving reminder to use our gifts. I am guilty of carefully storing certain things. I think I will use them right away. I loved the story you shared. Thank you – and so glad I came by!

    • Thank you so much for visiting the blog. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the story and that you’ve been inspired to use your gifts. You’re doing it already–by sharing the gift of your kind words and thoughtfulness! Your compliment made my day! Please come back any time.

  2. Hi Dan,
    This was a wonderful reminder to be grateful for the gifts I’ve been given and to use them faithfully. Sometimes I forget to say thank you, rushing off into my day, already filled up with static and fret, and then a quiet moment will arrest me; it’s usually something to do with nature, maybe I’ll hear a bird singing, or catch a whiff of a gardenia bush, and it will slice right through the chaos of my mental chatter and center me. When I’m centered the first thing I feel is gratitude.
    I really am grateful for my gifts and I want to use them with integrity and love so that I honor my fellow man, myself, and the gift giver.
    Nice post Dan. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Pingback: A Month of Gratitude Starts Today!

  4. Thank you so much Dan! What a beautiful reminder of how to appreciate and use the gifts we are given. I often appreciate my gifts but like the twin in your story fail to use them fully. Your posts has given me the direction I was looking for when I contemplated this question. Again, thank you and I will start using the gifts I have been given.

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