As the season of gift giving approaches I have been thinking about gifts that we receive, both tangible and in reference to the talents we possess.
Do you have someone in your life that is difficult to buy gifts for? Maybe they have such obscure tastes, or they already have everything, or maybe they are simply content with what they have? My lovely husband is like that. I, on the other hand, am fairly easy to buy for. I have a collection of Matryoushka dolls (Russian nesting dolls), and collectible teddy bears that I am always happy to add to. I have a variety of crafty interests that require never-ending supplies, enjoy handy, nifty kitchen gadgets, love candles, stationery and I adore chocolatae. Simple! Plenty of choices there.
What happens with those gifts that you receive that don’t ‘cut it’ for you? Do you hold onto them because of who gave them to you? Are they hidden away at the back of the cupboard, never to see the light of day? Or do you have a re-gifting policy that passes on these treasures to someone you think might be better suited to this object?
If a gift that has been shared with you doesn’t actually get used the value of the gift surely diminishes. I am not referring to those collectibles that people like to keep in their original boxes and hope that they will fetch a higher resale price at some future date. I do wonder if they bring as much joy in their packaging as they could have if taken out and enjoyed thoroughly, but that may be a conversation for another day.
Jesus told a story that reminds me of the importance of valuing the gifts that are offered to us. It is a story about a master who had three servants who were all given gifts to us (Matthew 25:14-30). Two of the servants went out and took a risk with what they were given. The master was impressed, for they were able to take what they had been given and create something more with it, and as a result, were rewarded by him for it. But the third servant was far too fearful, even to deposit the gift in the bank to be given interest as a return. In fact, he buried his gift in the ground so he wouldn’t lose a single piece. In the end, he returned every piece of his gift to the master, exactly the way it was given to him (although maybe a little grubbier) and he was berated for his risk averse attitude!
Do not fall into the trap of being like the third servant. Take some time to reflect on the gifts that have come your way, tangible or otherwise, and make sure you use them well.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” (Alice Morse Earle)