Be honest, have you ever re-gifted something? Not your proudest moment, huh? That’s ok, we’ve all done it. It’s your child’s final violin lesson of the year and you forgot to pick up a thank you gift for her teacher. Desperately searching the house, you find a vanilla scented candle that your neighbor gave you last Christmas. It’s in perfect condition. You never got around to lighting it. So you throw it into a recycled gift bag from Mother’s Day with some tissue paper from your most recent purchase at Macy’s. Your daughter is good to go and hopefully her teacher will be none the wiser.
This kind of last minute gift scramble is something we feel sheepish about and would never admit to. It somehow diminishes both the giver and the receiver (not to mention the original giver!)
Believe it or not, there are times when re-gifting is not only acceptable but encouraged. We receive tremendous gifts from God, our Creator, and He wants nothing more than for us to give them away. Here are three examples:
Jesus gives us a great commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” We are meant to take the gift of God’s love and use it as an example of how we are to love and treat others. Jesus taught us how to do this in his every action. He humbly washed the feet of his disciples. He loved the sinner, the leper, and the outcast. He loved us to the point of death on a cross. How far are we willing to go to share his gift? Do we love those who challenge us? Do we love those that the world rejects? Do we love those who believe they are unlovable?
Jesus teaches us about the amazing gift of God’s forgiveness through parables like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Surely this lost son might have received a blistering lecture from his father when he returned home. At the very least a resounding “I told you so!” Can we be inspired by this prodigal forgiveness to re-gift it upon those who hurt us? Have you been clinging to anger towards someone because of stubbornness or pride? Can you follow God’s example and forgive?
Years ago we had an 80th birthday party for my grandmother and she received many gifts. As she opened each one she exclaimed, “I don’t deserve this!” This sweet declaration of feeling is the best way of describing grace; simply put, “the unmerited favor of God towards humankind.” Abundant blessings poured over us no matter what we do or how we behave. This undeserved gift is incredibly humbling and not to be taken lightly. St. Paul tells us that we are “faithful stewards of God’s grace.” (1 Peter 4:10) I try to remember this when I’m tempted to snap at my husband or criticize my children. Is there a more grace-filled way to interact with them? Am I truly living my life as an instrument of God’s amazing grace?
This week I invite you to reflect on God’s amazing gifts and be on the lookout for opportunities to re-gift them to the world. Use the comment section to share your thoughts!