Why Do We Give Gifts?
I was thinking about this idea last week and it comes to that time of the year when we celebrate Valentine’s Day – or at least some of us do. We are reminded to think of doing something special for a person in your life that you love. We often think of husbands and wives – they might give each other a card. He might buy a box of chocolates or some flowers or purchase a piece of jewelry to show his love to his partner.
There is nothing wrong with doing these special acts of kindness, but I always think that we sometimes expect the other person will respond in a similar way.
There are some verses in the Bible that talk about giving and it is interesting to notice the message that is communicated. In Acts 20: 35 – Paul reminds the people he is writing to of these words from Jesus – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We all have heard these words but there are times when we might struggle with putting this concept into practice.
We might remember those days when we would come to school with our special Valentine cards to hand out to our friends. For a child this is a very important occasion and we might feel a bit sad for the child that does not receive many cards. This reminds me of a story. A mother watched her son come home from school and he was always the last one and did not walk with the other children. She felt a deep sadness in her heart. It was getting close to Valentine’s Day and he wanted to make a Valentine card for each of his fellow classmates. The mother went and purchased the cards and encouraged him as much as she could in this project. She knew that he would probably not receive many cards, if any at all. The day came to take the cards to school and he was all excited. While he was at school she baked his favourite cookies and she hoped this would cheer him up when he came home. She was watching out the window as the kids were walking home and noticed her son was last again. She noticed that he was hanging his head just a bit and she was prepared for the worst. When he came through the door she told him she had a special treat for him. But he did not seem to hear, he was so excited and this is what he said, “Not one, not a single one. I did not forget to give a single one.” He was more concerned about giving and not what he would receive.
This story reminds us all that we should take the time to see others as special no matter how gifted they are – and think of a way to show a special kindness to someone this week.
Victor Koop is pastor of the Sage Hills Evangelical Free Church in Ashcroft