Graciously Accepting Gifts

Thank you. Just 2 words. Is that really all that is needed when someone gives you a gift? I mean, it depends on what the gift is right… We always say thank you when we get birthday gifts, or Christmas gifts, or even random gifts from friends. It’s what we say when someone says a prayer for us. Or when someone opens a door. But is that really enough when someone offers something that is worth $500, or $1000, or what about $10,000? What is the cutoff where the value of the gift means that simply saying “thank you” isn’t enough? How to we measure the value of someone sitting in the hospital with you? Is it 1 hour? Or maybe 4? What about putting together a fundraiser for you? Thank you can’t be enough at some point! We have to return the favor. We have to give back to the person that gave to us. Right?

What if I told you that thinking that way is wrong? Even something that goes against what God teaches. That can’t be! Well it is. And if you’re anything like me, it is the hardest thing to believe. Asking for help… letting people help… (And I don’t mean asking for directions because I NEVER get lost!)

One question people often ask is “What do you think is the biggest thing that you learned though all of this?” And while sure, I’ve learned to appreciate the little things. Standing up to shower. Even just taking a shower! Walking. Running. Waking up to a crying child instead of a nurse. I’ve learned to stop fretting over the little things… Tractor slowing traffic on the highway? Whatever. Guy cuts me off? Who cares. But those aren’t the biggest thing I’ve learned or what I’ve struggled with the most. It is quite simply those two little words I started this post with. Thank you. How can I say that to someone who has given us so much??

I dug into the Bible to try to find something about this. Is it really ok to accept gifts and not give something back in return? Yes. Yes it is. Let’s start with the biggest and most obvious example. One that can never be matched by us. Jesus gave His life. God gave His Son. All for our sins. We can never repay that gift and nowhere does it say we need to. James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” So that means that everything someone does out of love (lawn care, prayers, financial gifts, visits) comes from God. God has given everyone different gifts and calls us to use those gifts to GIVE to each other. We are called to be His “hands and feet” on Earth. So denying someone the chance to use their gift in helping you and supporting you, you are denying them their calling. Let that sink in for a second. In not graciously accepting someones gift you are denying them what God has called them to do.

So that is the biggest lesson I have learned in all of this. It is ok that we need help. And it is ok to accept help. That is what being the Body of Christ, the Church, is all about. Supporting and lifting each other up. I recently came across the image below and I think it applies to more than just prayer. Prayer is one gift. (and one that we can all give mind you.) But this is why we each have gifts to give to one another. Maybe you will get the chance to give your gift to someone that has given you yours. Maybe you won’t. But in times of true need, graciously accept the gifts others have to offer you.

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