Healthy Leaders


A Gift That Doesn’t Need to be Exchanged

Alan SmithAlan Smith

Admit it; you’ve been there (maybe even just a few days ago). You received a gift that makes you grimace – an orange tie with purple stripes, perhaps, or a battery-operated radish peeler. You can’t be impolite and say, “I don’t like it. I want to exchange it.” So what do you say?

Fortunately someone has come up with The Top Ten Things to Say about a Christmas Gift You Don’t Like…

  1. Hey! Now there’s a gift!
  2. Well, well, well …
  3. What a shame! If I hadn’t recently shot up four sizes, this would’ve fit perfectly.
  4. This is perfect for wearing around the basement.
  5. I hope this never catches fire! It is fire season though. There are lots of unexplained fires.
  6. If the dog buries it, I’ll be furious!
  7. I love it – but I do fear the jealousy that it will inspire.
  8. Sadly, I won’t be able to use it. Tomorrow I enter a Witness Protection Program.
  9. To think – I got this the year I vowed to give all my gifts to charity.
  10. I really don’t deserve this.

Whatever you say, you know you’ll be standing in line for hours along with everyone else who received gifts that were just as uniquely unsuited to their personality.

There’s a beautiful story in 2 Corinthians 8 about a gift that the churches of Macedonia gave to Paul to help out needy Christians in Jerusalem. It was a gift that Paul was reluctant to receive. Not because there was anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite – it was a generous gift – perhaps too generous. The Christians who gave it were not at all wealthy, so the gift seemed excessive.

For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (2 Cor. 8:3-4).

The reason that their gift was so generous and so special, though, was because of another gift they had given.

And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. (2 Cor. 8:5).

Want to give a gift that will never need to be exchanged? Give yourself wholeheartedly to the Lord in the service of others.

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Alan Smith