The Value of a Gift

It is interesting to note that the value of a gift is set by the receiver and not the giver. Consider the gift of underwear; to a 10-year-old at Christmas who was looking for a new bike, there is very little value in his eyes. Yet that same pair of underwear given to a homeless person has tremendous value. A nice $25 bottle of wine for a casual drinker will have more value than the same bottle given to a wine connoisseur.

This is consistent with the popular expression, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Beauty is the value and beholder is the receiver. Beauty, like value, is subjective and not an intrinsic property of an object. The utility (‘value’) of the item is entirely subjective to the person observing. If I don’t value it, it has little to no value to me. The dictionary defines value as, “the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”

Gifts given and received are visual symbols of love. They represent a tangible sign of the value of the relationship. I recently received a phone call from a college friend I had not spoken to in quite a few years. He was calling to say goodbye. He was in his last days, and I was one of a few people he wanted to call. What at first, to me, was just a routine catch up with an old friend, became a priceless gift.

I have long been a fan of Jim Valvano’s quote, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person.  He believed in me.” It resonates with me because of the relationship I had with my own father. I recognized and valued the gift he was to me in my 36-years.  We need to consider the gift of a spouse, gift of children, gift of good health, the gift of where, when, and to whom we were born, the gift of someone believing in us, and so on.

In receiving a gift, we should reflect on its value relative to the giving abilities of the giver. The adage, “it’s the thought that counts” carries significant weight and we need to be mindful regarding the care and motivation that went into the gift. A phone call is a small act, but under the circumstances of deteriorating health in one’s final days, the giver’s effort was no small undertaking.

My wife and I have taken the traditional meal blessing, “Bless us our Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive” and are using it to be thankful of the gift of each new day. We greatly enjoyed this practice looking out the windshield while driving across the country camping last summer. The gifts of the new day, God’s beautiful creation, and our ability to enjoy His work, were all worth a prayer of thanks.

Those of you familiar with Coach Mahr know that Luke 12:48 is a driving force in my life. It fits with this theme perfectly. To whom much has been given (gifts), much is expected (appreciation and using these gifts). I have come to learn that this behavior fuels more gifts being received, and then more appreciation and usage. Think about it, when we give someone a gift, and it is neglected (maybe we don’t receive a thank you) we are unlikely to continue giving that person a gift. Whereas those that appreciate and honor the gifts we gave tend to receive more of our gifts.

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” –David Viscott

We should reflect on our gifts of time and friendship invested in others. Our value needs to be a gift to everyone we meet. When we gift the of love and service to others, there are two recipients of the gift – those who receive the gift, as well as God. Even if the gift is not valued by the receiver, when we serve others, we are serving God.

“Life is God’s gift to us, how we live that life is our gift to God” – Les Brown

God bestows His Grace and is the source of our talents. These are gifts from Him. Do we value them, or do we waste them? His Grace and the talents that are God given, provide the perfect combination to accomplish great things in His honor. According to Proverbs 17 when a gift is valued, and used with good motives for good purposes, it is profitable in every way it is used. James 1:17 tells us that every good gift comes from God in Heaven. He is the Father of lights, and he has no darkness. The Bible is very clear that, God wants very much to give us good things.

God is the greatest gift-giver. His heart of overflowing love was evident when He sent Jesus into the world. He not only gave what was most costly, but He also gave what was most needed. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” God gave the gift of Jesus to us, and that gift creates the opportunity for us to open our hearts to Him.

Our Father gives us the greatest gift. He also believes in us. It is up to us to receive and value this symbol of love with the worth it deserves.

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we have received through Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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