This month is a month of birthdays. Well, actually, last week and this week we celebrate 5 birthdays.
A few years ago, when our kids were in high school and college, I realized that there was no way to please them with something that I went out and bought. There were too many disappointing gifts. We just have different tastes, needs, desires, expectations.
It isn't that I don't love deeply my children and desire to get the "perfect" gift. I would ask for specific lists. One son would even send me links to things he wanted. (I would click on them and still not be able to get it - they would not have the color, size, style, etc. that he wanted.)
I have agonized over gifts for years, those I've given and received. What do you do with something that you received that you do not want and do not like and will never use? You know it may have been something expensive and "nice"... just not what you want, need or like! Oh the guilt and misery fretting over it. Do I wear that ugly outfit that makes me look like a fat floozy or do I leave it hanging in my closet with the tags still on it for years hoping that one day it will suddenly look good on me?
Don't get me wrong, please. It is not that we are not GRATEFUL for the gift and the thought and the effort. It is the actual "thing" that gives problems.
Also, the gift card thing... what if someone gives you a gift card to a place you never shop? (or don't even have the store in your area)... Anyway... one year my parents decided to give us cash for Christmas. You know... we all LOVED it. We were all thankful! We all appreciated it. It was something that we all could use. They have done that ever since.
I took the lead from my parents. Unless there is something that I KNOW for SURE that a person wants and I can get it, then I give cash. That way, thy can get whatever they want in their style, size, color.... and they don't have to ask for the receipt and take it back or exchange it or hold on to the gift card for years until it is no longer any good.
In the same line of thought, but on a higher level....
God gives us gifts. We relate to the world with our personality and ministry gifts. Even people not in the professional ministry have ministry (or operational) gifts.
Most of the problems that I have encountered in the Body of Christ is because we try to force people to walk in a "gift" that is not theirs. Usually, we want them to walk in OUR gift because that is how we relate to the world.
Example... if you are a prophet, then you see things as black and white, right or wrong... That is how you relate to the world. You have a tendency to get mad at others who do not judge sin as you do.
If you are a server, then you see need all around. You are quick to lend a helping hand and try to carry the load or clean or fix. It becomes a problem when others around you don't jump in and help.
If you are a giver then you want to meet the needs you see by giving either gifts or money. You don't think about doing the work yourself, you think about giving the money necessary to have it done. You can get mad at other people who don't give of their money for needs thinking that "if they would let go of their money, then the problem could be solved".
If you have the gift of mercy you just want to love on people and offer forgiveness. You strive to see why the person is hurting. You just want to hug them and you don't judge them, you just accept them where they are. The way that goes awry is when mercy wants to cover sins and not let discipline take place.
If you have the gift of teaching you want a lesson to be learned in every situation. You are great at documenting and backing up things. You have a tendency to be legalistic and get frustrated when people don't "learn".
If you have the gift of administration, you can get people behind you and organized and accomplish much. You see the end and whole picture. It could be easy to get more task oriented than people oriented and step on people to get things done.
If you have the gift of exhortation you are always encouraging people to do better, to come up higher. You are a cheerleader. You are the enthusiasm and excitement. When people don't join in your energy you take it personally and get depressed and discouraged easily.
This is not an exhaustive list or definition by any means. It is just a mere sharing and reflection. I was just thinking of how we love to give gifts. We love to give gifts that are appreciated. We love to use our gifts.
It would be nice if we just understood others...