What constitutes a gift? Some gifts are memorable – a forever gift. Gifts can be small or the most expensive. The ones we remember the most become the most precious. When a small boy picks a bouquet from the field and gives it to his Mom, he is giving his heart that lasts forever.
I’ve had many gifts – a hand-carved wooden knife, an ink drawing, bouquets of flowers, a wedding ring, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, extended family of cousins, friends to pray with and for – from the smallest to the most expensive gift. Yet each gift touches my heart. Often there is no picture, just a mind-pic. A gift is like a hug. It keeps on giving in memories.
We relish the time we can give gifts at Christmas, for a birthday, a wedding or a baby. But the most special gifts are – for no apparent reason – just love. There is no special time for such special gifts. Recognizing a gift is important. Sometimes a gift is not wrapped in glitzy paper and a ribbon, but it is a plea
for attention, for forgiveness, or just an I-love-you gift because you are you. Recently I received a gift with a philosophy of life that touched my heart, from a dear friend. Whatever the motivation, are we thankful? Do we feel compelled to send a gift back?
What is the proper response when we receive a gift? We unwrap the gift and we send a thank you note to the giver. Can you imagine a scenario where the giver gives the most expensive gift, and we place this gift on an obscure shelf, never opening that gift or giving appreciation?
Thankfulness is an attitude of gratitude that accompanies giving and receiving gifts. Every thing we have is a gift from God. If thankfulness equals the preciousness of the gift, we may be woefully lacking. Being thankful for gifts can extend from the shelter and the clothing that we have, to the food we eat, and beyond. Imagine what would happen if the gifts we have received disappear if we do not give thanks. What would we lose?
If beauty is in the eye of beholder, thankfulness is in the heart of the one who knows God. All we are and all we have are gifts from God. (Mike Root) Realizing that a relationship with God brings us into a spiritual walk that includes love, joy, peace, patience, perseverance, gentleness, kindness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
A wise man expressed it this way, “I am thankful for God placing me in the family I have, in the country I live in, the era of history of now and all the material blessings He gives me daily.” This man prays daily and gives thanks mightily to God, the Giver of All Gifts. Every aspect of his life is a prayer of thankfulness.
Recently I read a book, Empty Basket, by Mike Root. A chapter was devoted to the giving of the most precious gift the world has ever known. A man came to this earth as a babe and gave his life in payment for our sins. Why did Jesus give his life? The answer is simple – Jesus loves each of us – first. (I John 4:19) This gift was a sacrifice of His life, so that we might have salvation through the forgiveness to ready us to live with God forever. But the gift does not end there. This gives us a lifetime on earth, a journey, of growing to live ever more Christ-like. Mike Root wrote, “Spiritual maturity is an awareness and sensitivity to all God has given us.” The gifts from God impact our lives each day in every way.
The next time some one asks what we are thankful for, what will be the answer? The air I breath, the body I inhabit, the possessions that God has given me stewardship over, my family that extends to my faith-family, friends, the beauty of God’s creation – the birds, the sky’s enthralling canvas of beauty, the greenness of the color of growing, the food on the table, the clothes I wear, the piano I play, the smiles of the aged who know the secret of faith in God, the mail man, teachers who love God. The list is endless, and I am thankful. The next time you give someone a hug, think of the joy God created by giving us the extreme example of love by giving us His Son, Jesus. God longs for his children to be thankful.
These gifts that God gives us are to be used, and not lie idle. Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. We are to trust God, but can God trust us? Are we faithful, trustworthy stewards of His gifts? I Corinthians 4:2 – Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
Our purpose is to glorify God in all we do, say and think. Through the gifts He has given and our minute-by-minute thankfulness! Praise God!
I John 4:18-19 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
I Corinthians 10:31 – So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Proverbs 7:1 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Ephesians 1:3, 7-9 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.