7/29/2010

The Gift


It has been said throughout the years that a gift is in the eyes of the beholder. For what matters not what is in the gift but what it does to the receiver….what emotions it evokes, what it does to their soul. Does it send their spirit soaring?

To a dying man, a gift is a smile.

To a hospital patient confined to a bed, a gift may be hand delivered flowers to remind them that beauty lies right outside the door and someone cared enough to break a sprig of it inside!

On holidays, my favorite gift to give, when I travel and have to stop for gas, the attendant in the store that has to work the holiday shift, money out of my wallet, usually at least a twenty dollar bill. The look on their face, seeing it light up with surprise is priceless!

Getting a card from a stranger that just says they are sorry you are hurting, in pain or in sympathy for a lost loved one is a gift. Unexpected compassion from a stranger that wants not recognition but wants, simply to give you a piece of their heart…no strings attached!

A gift of priceless value is the gift of an organ. Being an organ donor gives life to so many others that might, otherwise, not have that opportunity to thrive.
I heard a priest say recently a gift is anything we do that causes someone else to have faith. Simply passing someone on the street and wishing them a nice day for no reason is hope. Helping someone cross the street that is feeble is respectful and gives praise to the life they have led. Giving someone that cannot bear children a child gives faith, that they can provide a child a loving home.

Some of the best gifts are the anonymous ones. I remember a friend that had to have an expensive procedure done when he was terminal with cancer. He reached out to his church family and asked for assistance. They all pitched in to help this man, this child of God, this dad of two small children, have one more chance to fight to live. When all the money was collected, the day it was all due to his home, a big envelope was found on the front porch. When he opened it, inside was a small note, signed anonymous donor. It was a cashier’s check for the entire amount that had been raised! Hence, all the money was returned to the donors but that check not only let him get the treatment but that gift instilled everyone associated with this man to realize God truly does work in mysterious ways!

The importance of gifts was even mentioned in the Bible. The New Testament tells the story of three wise kings that traveled from afar to bring a gift to the feet of the baby Jesus, while he lay in the stable in the manager. These were three wise men who knew that the scripture spelled out the birth of a king. They were in awe of the glory and when he was born, wanted to give a symbolic gift in reverence to him.
Our faith tells us to believe in our fellow men, our body of believers. But it also tells us we should shower others with our blessings. What good are riches if they are not shared? Hoarded riches serve no real purpose except to put oneself higher than others.

Riches are also not only monetary items. Spiritual riches can be anything that warms the soul, softens the spirit and instills God’s light into others. Giving of one’s time to elders in a nursing home is rich and a gift, to both the giver and the receiver. Rich is telling moralistic tales to children to help them see that good character breeds contentment.

To give is to receive. In tough times, when money is tight and time is a precious commodity in short supply, compel your heart to look around and take notice. Give of yourself if you can’t afford to give of your purse. Helping others makes us at one with God. The best gift in life IS the gift of giving.
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