Monday, September 26, 2011

Good gifts

I have a friend who knows how to give good gifts.  She knows I like to carry my coupons with me, and she noticed that my cardboard coupon clutch was falling apart, so she sent me this wonderful sturdy(er) plastic one.  It's even pink!   


Thanks, friend!

She even included some "coupons" in the clutch.

My favorite is the "bathroom" coupon, below:
 In this household consisting of 4 boys and little ol' me, a "pleasing aroma" is something I definitely want to foster and encourage.

So how does one go about giving good gifts?  Well, I think you need to become a student of the gift recipient.  Find out what they like, what they like to do, even their hopes and dreams.  And then put some thought into it: match the gift to what you've learned about the person to whom you give.  That should work, but quite honestly, none of it really matters unless the gift is given from a sense of joy and love, rather than from a sense of obligation.  Those are the best gifts.  My friend's got that part down.

Do you know who also knows how to give good gifts?
If you, then, though you are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11 (NIV)
(More about the verses preceeding this one some other time...)
God, that's who. God has studied you. God knows what you like, what you like to do. God knows your hopes and dreams. God knows your struggles and fears. God knows your most private thoughts, your wants, your needs. God knows everything about you, and God knows how to give good gifts, perfect gifts. My friend, who gives good gifts, is God's good gift to me.
Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17
Oh, sometimes the gifts God gives don't look like good gifts.  Sometimes they look like disappointments, disasters, illness, trials.  Sometimes they look like a lost job, a closed door, or an unanswered prayer.  But even when we don't understand, when we don't recognize God's good gifts, we can be sure that God, the Giver of good gifts, knows just what we need, and will give it to us, in His perfect timing and in His perfect way.
And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28
Sometimes, what we need is God's greatest gifts: grace, mercy, redemption.  Sometimes what we need is to draw closer to God.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that
you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

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