Aloha Friday Message – July 6, 2012 – Exchanging Gifts

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Read it online here.

Beloved, where are your gifts? Where have you put them? They are yours after all and you should know what you’ve done with them. And if you do know where they are, are they where they belong, or have you put them somewhere and hoarded them away? If they are not hidden, then you should know from whence they came. Do you have gifts you cannot see or find and therefore you do not use? Where are your gifts, and why do you even have them? They were given to you; who would take to take them away? Are they not yours, once and for all?

Where are your Gifts? Beloved, they are strewn throughout your life like wildflowers in a meadow. They are everywhere and anywhere you look. Can you recall the song of a bird, or remember a Bible verse? Can you sing, or play an instrument, speak words of wisdom, calm a crying child, stand up against the Devil? Do you live in pain every moment of every day? Have you a cancer, a birth defect, some chronic but not fatal disease? Do you know how to be generous, or to love your annoying neighbor? Can you be gentle with a spouse or parent with dementia, or firm and adamant with a spouse’s or a child’s chemical dependency?

Where have you put your gifts? Are they hidden away in the closet of your heart so you alone can enjoy them? Are they draped around your daily life to be decorations on your uniform? Or are they perhaps in the hands, and hearts, and minds of family and friends? Might they be shared and reshared among the marginalized, the dispossessed, the orphaned, the widowed, the oppressed, and the starving? Do your gifts go out from you in service to your family, your church, your community, your nation? Are you risking your life for your country, for your faith, or for the poor?

Where did your gifts come from and how were they delivered to you? Are your gifts an inheritance of wealth, an abundance of talent or skill? Are they in your genes, or in your nature? Were they nurtured into you or nurtured out of you? Do your gifts testify to your heritage, your faith, or your stubbornness? Do you have gifts you do not want, or do not use, or do not understand?

Why do you have gifts? Or do you even have a single gift you can recognize and name as your own? Do you define your gifts, or do your gifts define you? What possible good is there in being in possession of such gifts? Who are you, and why are you gifted? David, the man after God’s own heart, said this:

12 “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.” So David says that everything we have has come from God. Everything we give to God is what he has given us, but only slightly changed. It is changed by our willingly giving it back to him. Willingly given, it becomes a sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. Unwillingly given, it becomes an insult to God and an indictment against our soul. Everyone is gifted from God – every one of us.

Every good gift and every perfect gift ...

Doubtless you are familiar with the phrase “an attitude of gratitude.” Gifts are part of human life; we give gifts on special occasions, and we receive gifts on special occasions. God’s gifts are not attached to any occasion, nor are they occasional. They are constant, abundant to the point of being overwhelming, and actually multiply when we give them away, or when we make use of them as God intended when he gifted them to us. Using them in gratitude for having them is called STEWARDSHIP. Here is what Peter has to say about that:

10 – As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace … (1 Peter 4:10) and in James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. God can’t help it, I suppose would say, if he is way too generous. Just because he happens to be crazy-in-love with you, he simply will not stop flooding your life with gifts! So why is it that we are often so reluctant to acknowledge these gifts (and thereby honor the giver), and fickle in wanting to share them? Think of all those questions at the beginning of this. Is any of that really important to know?

Romans 12:6-8 can give us some insight into this avalanche of questions: Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, 6 with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. So, we have these gifts them that they should be given – shared – with others, and the sharing is best when it is absolute, when everything we have is given.

Is your gift one of ongoing suffering? Then you are also gifted with the grace to glorify God by uniting your suffering with that of others in the world who suffer because of the injustices perpetrated against them; plus you can unite your suffering with Christ and share in the depths of his redemptive compassion. Is your gift deep-seated emotional wounds inflicted by someone you loved and who should have loved you better? Then you are also gifted with the grace to forgive, completely and unconditionally, every hurt you bear – body, mind, and spirit.

Is your gift one of irrepressible joy? Then you are also gifted with the capacity for empathy, understanding, and wisdom for those whose life is best characterized as miserable. Is your gift a gift of healing, or preaching, of good counsel? Then you are also gifted sometimes with sickness, remorse, or stupid mistakes; from all of these you learn the value of your gifts. In your day-to-day life, do others notice you share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and/or self-control? Then your life is fruitful, and you are chosen – yes chosen by GOD, by God HIMSELF! – to have, to hold, and to gratefully share every gift with anyone and everyone.

I give you thanks and praise

That is the motivation for your attitude of gratitude. Everything that you are, everything that you have, and even everything that you do not have – all of that (and so many more gifts and blessings every moment of every day that you cannot possibly count them all without a place in Eternity to number them!) Scriptures say is from God. To be unable or unwilling to show gratitude for such bounteous benevolence is to be the most miserable of all of God’s creatures, one who lacks that attitude of gratitude. However, Beloved, having attained such an attitude, we are the most blessed of all of God’s creatures when, in good stewardship, we share every gift without counting the cost or expecting the return.

 

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

2 Responses to Aloha Friday Message – July 6, 2012 – Exchanging Gifts

  1. Cathy Boehme says:

    Thanks, Chick for reminding me of how many gifts I have been blessed with and that I totally ignore or am not aware of. I count you as one of my many blessings – Cathy

    • chick says:

      Likewise my dear friends. November 4, 1968 at the MLT Training on Lackland AFB. Since then a friendship unbroken. That is indeed a GREAT blessing!

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