Friday, November 14, 2014

Can you joyfully receive a gift?

I finished the book of Haggai and decided to just write some thoughts for this one day. Something has been on my mind for some time. It's the problem that so many people have in receiving a gift.
I remember a Christmas episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon doesn't like gift exchanges because he feels that people need to exchange gifts of similar value. A lot of people have this attitude, that when someone gives them something then they are indebted and expected to reciprocate.

I also see this popular trend of "pay it forward", where someone pays for the next person's drink or meal.
While that's a neat idea, the most popular instances are really a perversion of the concept. If some coffee shop continues a line of "pay it forward" through perhaps 100 people, the the only person that really received a gift is the last. If you pay for my drink and I pay for the next person then I've essentially just paid myself. And I read the news on how the sales clerk at this fancy coffee shop became so upset that the last person actually accepted the gift.

I also saw something on a recent Cristo weekend, actually I've seen it before but it just hit me. While on the weekend, the participants receive from the Cristo community little gifts, perhaps a pencil, a piece of candy, a book mark, a sticker. Something of small value but a gift reflecting the love from the giver. They are typically placed on the table settings before meals. I was moved by the number of people that simply don't take them. I can understand that perhaps there is a food allergy to some candy but pencils, stickers, hand carved crosses, various items are left behind because so many people have this problem receiving gifts.

I think it comes from the stiff selfish nature in our beings. We want to fix our own problems, I want to do it myself and I don't want to owe anyone anything. This attitude that if I receive something from you then I am in your debt. That's not a gift. A gift is free, it has no strings attached, no obligation, nothing further to do. Just accept the gift and enjoy it.

There is the most valuable gift ever given to all of us. It's the eternal salvation of our souls. Ephesians 2:8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--. Can you possibly think of anything that you can give God to equal this gift? But so many people think in that same manner, trying so hard to earn salvation. Just as in Big Bang, Sheldon gave multiple gift baskets to Penny because he felt that her gift was so valuable, and he kept saying that it wasn't enough.

For this priceless gift from God you can never give enough, simply receive it with joy, that's what He wants. And think about this the next time someone buys you a cup of coffee or a meal.

God loves you and so do I.

Today's workout.  Skater, push up, jump rope, I, step, hug, squat, shoulder press, slam ball  36 intervals.

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