Do you know how difficult it is to accept a gift? Maybe it's just me. I guess I'm talking about gifts that are unexpected, and especially those that you feel are undeserved.
For instance, have you ever received a gift from somone at Christmastime that you just weren't expecting? From a recent acquaintance, or maybe an old friend you haven't exchanged gifts with for a long while? "Oh! Thank you (!?!)." is the usual surprised response with feigned calm. " I have something for you too!" is often what follows next as your mind races to think of something you can wrap and exchange. Or do you give the, "You know, I just forgot yours! I'm so absent-minded"? Do you do the embarrased side door exit, hiding or avoiding eye contact. Or are you one of those prepared people, who after an experience such as the one above now have a basket of common gifts, ready for emergencies such as this?
But why do we do it? Could it be that we don't know how to accept a gift?
I think so. I don't like favors much either. I don't like borrowing things from friends or family. Why? Because then I know I owe them. And the uncertainty of when or how they'll call in the favor is much worse than doing without, or struggling through.
We scurry for that return gift, because we want to be even. This for that. An equal exchange. We don't want to feel short-changed, but more certainly, we don't want to owe anyone anything. We want to avoid that guilty feeling. Guilty for receiving something we didn't deserve or earn.
So what's my point? I have two actually.
The first: Have you ever wished or prayed for something? Day dreamed, "if only we had $$, I'd be so happy. We'd be through with this or that bill. We could finally get x or y." I have. I don't believe anyone but my husband has heard this wish, oh and God. Usually it's during a burdened, and heavy hearted discussion about our finances and disappointment with ourselves for a period in our lives when we weren't very good stewards, quite a while ago actually, that we still are dealing with.
But, today. Today, I was blessed with a check. Ironically in the amount that I always said would be just enough to help. It floored me. Completely unexpected. So undeserved. At the site of it, guilt washed over me. How could I accept it? I couldn't possibly? How could I ever pay it back? Surely it cost this person, greatly, to give it.
It was a gift. In the true meaning of the word. Nothing expected in return. Nothing received as the cause. The only source of the giving was plainly said in the note: I hope this helps.
Helps? Helps? My mind has raced. I couldn't even remember at first sight that it would. My mind raced trying not to think about it. In denial. In disbelief. Trying to think of how I can return it. Return the check? What could I do in return? I can't take it. I just couldn't. I shouldn't! And yet, I remember. It would help. It surely would. And I feel so blessed! So loved. So in awe.
My second point? Well this all just made me think about God's gift to all of us: His son. How much it must have cost our Father. And yet, he gave Him. He offers us all hope of salvation. We didn't deserve it and we certainly didn't earn it, and there's really nothing we can do to pay him back. It was a gift given in love, with the only hope that it would help each and every one of us. Give us each hope that things can be better and restore us to a right path to happiness. And I feel so blessed! So loved. So in awe.
Lord, help me to be a gracious recipient in each of the gifts you had a hand in mentioned here today. I thank you for the love that surrounds us. Help me to remember Lord, that it's not about me. Let me instead meditate on your love and mercy that resulted in these gifts.