Around the Christmas table last year, I realised something – there are Cheesecake People and there are Salad People. I’m a Cheesecake person, but not for the reasons you’d think. I don’t like eating them, but I love making them! They’re just so easy to make look beautiful. Not much effort for a whole heap of class.
Eating? I’d prefer a nice salad over a cheesecake any day. You know, those ones with fancy names like Chargrilled Pumpkin and Feta salad, Roast Green Beans with Sweet Berry Tomatoes, or Peach Pancetta and Mozzarella. Yum!
My sisters-in-law, on the other hand, are Salad People. Every Christmas they bring along the most incredible salads you’ve ever seen, which I proceed to fill my plate with. One Christmas, my five-year-old daughter skipped the meat, lollies and cakes spread across the table and filled her plate with salad too, if that gives you any idea of how great they looked.
But before the eating comes the inevitable stand around the table and admire each other’s creations. It goes something like this…
“Wow! Check out that salad! That looks awesome! Is that mango in there?”
“Yum! And that one! Caramelised sweet potato and pomegranate? Seriously? Wow! Can’t wait to try it.”
“It’s just a salad.”
“Ha! My salads consist of badly chopped tomato, iceberg lettuce, carrot and, if you’re lucky, capsicum and cucumber. Nothing like that. I wish I could make salads like that.”
“Yeah, but look at your cheesecake! I can’t believe you made that! It looks like something you’d buy from a cake shop. How’d you do that chocolate swirl?”
“Melted chocolate and just swirled it. Believe me, it’s heaps easier than it looks. Anyone could make it.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so.”
And so it goes on. We each think our creation is the easiest thing in the world to make, while the thought of making the other thing has us completely stressing!
Cheesecake People and Salad People.
Then the Jellybeans turned up. No baking or mixing to make them whatsoever but hours of fun since the giant bag of crazy-flavoured Jellybeans didn’t come with a cheat sheet of what each flavour was. Christmas wouldn’t have been half so fun without the Jellybean Person.
Or the Chocolate Ball Person, or the Pizza Scroll Person. Or the ‘I Just Provided the House’ Person.
See, Christmas lunch wouldn’t be Christmas lunch if everyone didn’t bring the bit they were good at. I bring cheesecakes because, believe me, even ducks who eat anything turn up their beaks at my salads. But I can do cheesecakes. My sisters bring salads because they hate baking but are great at putting together a salad. My brother brought jellybeans along with a stack of laughter. And Mum and Dad provided the house which really is a big deal since we’d all be sitting on the street if not for that. I don’t think even fancy cheesecakes would taste good melting on the side of the street.
Nor would a whole table full of cheesecakes make a very good lunch. Or a whole table of jellybeans. Or an empty house with no food.
Pretty sure you’ve got the idea by now but in case you haven’t, here it is:
The world needs you and your gifts.
Whether you’re good at baking, tossing a salad together, buying jellybeans, opening the door to your house, finding the right music to set the scene, cleaning up, organising everyone else, telling a joke, being adorable, filling the silence, providing the silence, or turning on some lights, you’re needed.
The listeners as much as the speakers. The extroverts and the introverts. Those who write, those who sing, those who are amazing at science, those who love being behind the scenes, those who encourage, those who lead, those who are great with kids, those who wouldn’t have a clue how to care for a child but can recall the name and alter-ego of every superhero there is. Those who are great at sports and those who wouldn’t know a football from a hockey puck.
Every one of you is needed.
Got that? You’re needed. You. Your exact set of gifts. That thing you can do? That thing you love to do? God needs it. The world needs it. So practice it. Use it. Let it grow. It’s not a mistake. It’s God’s gift to you. So go out and use it!