Monday, April 8, 2013

Giving and Receiving Gifts (Part 1 of 3)

 Learning to Live (Series)

The Lord has been opening my eyes to my reality.  He has kindly and lovingly been showing me the areas in my life that have been void of correction and instruction of His ways, void of experiencing His love in the general activities of learning how to live.  This has included revelations that go back through my childhood up through my present relationships with my husband and children.  He is redeeming these voids a few at a time, here and there, showing me what is and has been missing and following up with what needs to be exchanged or filled in.  I have been lost and pretending to live, but thankfully the Lord has prepared me for this season of learning from Him, personally, how to live.


(Gifts my oldest daughter made for a friend)

One of my daughters and I were talking about her sister’s birthday as we were preparing to celebrate it.  She told me that she is beginning to enjoy giving gifts more than ever before.  She is growing and maturing in character.  This led to her and I discussing how “learning to give and receive gifts” can give us insight about the Gospel of Christ.

Due to religious ideas and family dynamics, gift giving is an area that was void in my upbringing.  My experience with celebrating holidays and birthdays, with giving and receiving gifts came from experiences outside my family life.  My interpretation was developed through watching others either from a distance or on T.V.  I am so grateful that the Lord is replacing my wrong interpretation with revelations about how His love is intertwined in every aspect of life.


Recently the Lord has been revealing Himself to me through a process of teaching me how to teach my children the deeper values surrounding giving and receiving gifts.

Giving in the Flesh Revealed:  As I think back over my life, I remember times of giving gifts with the idea that I wanted the receiver to enjoy what they received, but there more to that motivation, there was an added level of self-centeredness in the process of picking out a gift.  Would the receiver like the gift “I” gave them?  Did it seem like “I” spent enough money or took the cheap route (always being on a budget)?  Did the gift “I” was giving them seem creative or just right?  Is “my” presentation of the gift pretty enough?  Does the card “I” picked out impart the right impression?  Did “I” write the right thing in the card.   I remember a time when what to write in the card could sometimes be burdensome, particularly when giving group gifts, wondering if other people would read what “I” wrote and think it was dumb or lacking.  Oh, how focused on myself I have been.

When I began to be ministered to through the Lifestyle of Learning ministry, I remember hearing about the value of giving meaningful gifts that included meaningful and sentimental messages written on the cards.  I had never heard anyone in church ministry talk about this before.  I thought it was a wonderful idea, it was something I wanted to do and at a deeper level I knew it was beyond me to be able to do as I could barely comprehend what it would look like in real life.  That was a few years ago.  I am grateful that the Lord knows the right season to bring new understanding, and am grateful for what He has been showing me in this area.

Giving reveals a Christ-like Love : 


The Lord has been showing me that preparation is the beginning to gift giving.  God is the ultimate model of preparing.  The Old Testament shows us how He prepared to bring us the gift of Christ.  The New Testament tells us of how He is preparing a place for us in Heaven.  To prepare is to take necessary previous measures.  In order to take necessary previous measures to bless someone with a gift we would want to put thought into what we know about the receiver and what brings them joy, keeping our eyes on them rather than on our self.


Sacrifice is a needed element of giving gifts.  Sacrifice is the surrender made or occurred to oblige another.  We may sacrifice… or surrender our time, putting aside time with the specific purpose to prepare for the gift thoughtfully considering the receiver and what they enjoy, what would bless them.  We may then sacrifice money we have earned to buy a gift or supplies to make a gift.  Making a gift often requires sacrifice of both money for supplies and setting aside time to create the gift. 

When we make a gift there is often another ingredient that is added to the preparing and sacrifice of pouring out of our “heart” and praying for the receiver while we are creating the gift.  There really is a pouring out of love that accompanies a homemade, handmade gift.

We are not always able to make gifts, but it is something that I have been coming to see the real life value.  It has been becoming more important in my mind for my children and I to develop skills for the purpose of blessing others.  This is one, of many ways, we can teach our children to serve others.

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