I used to be the guy who would watch an old woman throw a dime in the collection plate and make some sort of sarcastic remark.
I know better today. I understand today, that someone who has a very nice income can throw a dollar into the basket without even missing it, but to someone else, that dollar might be what they need to take the bus, or do their laundry, or even get themselves a hot cup of coffee.
Today I want to talk about the value of gifts.
I grew up with a lot of resentments around any gift giving type occasion, because my mother had instilled in me the importance of the obligation of matching the monetary value of the gift received when giving a gift in return.
So basically, every gift I got was an obligation and stress, especially when I didn’t have the means to match the value of the gift.
Today, I’m trying to be a different person, and rethink the idea of the gift.
I let go of the idea of obligation and simply appreciate the sentiment and say thank you.
But additionally, I no longer place value on gifts based on money but more on the sacrifice.
In my first year of marriage, my wife at the time gave me one of the best gifts (other than my son) that she had ever given me. She bought me some comics. But it wasn’t the comics themselves that I valued. My wife didn’t know anything about comics. And I had many, many boxes of comics. I had probably about a thousand comics. She went through every single box and memorized what I had to make sure she didn’t buy me something I already possessed. The true gift was the effort and time.
In this modern, busy world, it’s that effort and time that are true gifts for me. Someone who makes me a blanket. A mother who learns all about Pokemon in one month so she can put on a Pokemon tournament for her son’s birthday. A person who listens to you for an hour without checking their phone.
Those are the most valuable of gifts. Gifts from the heart. Gifts with thought and meaning.
Our partner churches come each week and bring us food. And we love the food. But to me, the greatest gift they give is their time. They plan the meals. They shop for the meals. They cook the meals. Then they travel here, attend our service, serve the meal, and help clean up. We love the food, but we love your time so much more. Thank you. There are many other ways to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Today I have gratitude in my heart for the people in my life who give a little of themselves or a lot, to show me that I am loved. And I do not feel obligated to match the value. But I will give in return whatever I can offer.