Did you ever give someone a gift that you put a lot of thought into, and went to some effort to obtain, only to feel that the recipient was less than thrilled, or worse yet, rejecting of your best effort to do something thoughtful for them?
Maybe it's because one of my personal "love languages" is gifts, but I find that scenario a little hard to take. I love gifts. I love shopping for them, I love giving them, and yes, I love receiving them. I especially love being surprised, and I love thinking of the giver whenever I see, use, or remember the gift. And I really love it when the recipient of my gift is as excited to receive it as I was to give it. It doesn't have to be something big or expensive. It could even be a gift of time. In fact most often much joy comes from the little things in life that tie us to relationships on a daily basis. A gift doesn't have to be expensive to be priceless. In my humanness, I also admit I love thank you's...both giving them and receiving them. That's how I feel about gifts.
I'm reminded of the best gift of all, the gift of eternal life. And the daily blessings that come from the Lord of that life. Humm...have I showed my appreciation and given Him thanks lately? Because Jesus lived the life I could never live and died in my place, and because I accepted this unfathomable gift, the abundance of His blessings will never cease. The gift is really called grace.
I saw a great quote recently: "God's gift to you was life; what you do with your life is your gift to God" (Manuel Diotte).
That reminds me of a children's liturgy that a Sunday School teacher taught my boys when they could barely sit on a little chair:
teacher: "What does the cross mean?" (while pointing to a cross)
children: "God loves us!"
teacher: "And what do the flowers mean?" (while children bring flowers to the altar)
children: "We love God!"
teacher: "And He is here today, He hears each word we say, and listens when we pray."
(followed by a recitation of the Lord's Prayer) A gift is given and a grateful heart receives it and responds.
I love the way John puts it in his gospel (1:16) "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." I can't help but wonder how the heart of God feels when He has given so much, in fact His all, to bestow the gift of eternal blessing for those He loves so much, and yet so many ignore, disregard, or reject it. There is no way I could be given a beautifully wrapped gift and sit it in the corner and not open it! Luke tells us there is great rejoicing in heaven over even one sinner who repents (15:7) and embraces God's gift.
I'm counting my blessings today; won't you join me?
"...how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?..." (Heb. 2:3)