Wednesday, August 14, 2013
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My wife is one of the most generous people I know. We've never had a whole lot to spend on gifts, but somehow she usually finds a way to give them. Over the years God has blessed us with some friends who have been very generous with us. They have invited us to get away to their cabin or their cottage or their farm. I can remember occasions where I've been all packed and ready to go and anxious to leave, and my wife hasn't come out yet. I'll go back inside and I'll say, "Honey, what are you doing?" You know where she is? She's rummaging through her gift box or her gift closet, and she'll say, "Wait a minute, Honey, I'm looking for a gift."
Sure enough she almost always left a gift behind for those friends. She finds something of hers that she can give. I can't tell you how many times she's done that for a dinner host, for a sick friend, for a new mom. She just leaves a gift in so many lives.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Leaving a Trail of Gifts."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 1:11. Paul says to the Roman Christians, "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong." Whoa! That reminds me of my wife! "I want to be with you. And when I am, I'll leave you with a gift."
What kind of trail do you leave with the people you touch? It's exciting to live like Paul describes here, consciously asking as you're with a person, "Lord, what spiritual gift could I give him or her? How could I leave this person a little better off than they were before I was with them?" Whether you're on the phone or on the Internet with them, or you're in an appointment, or whether it's a casual contact, or it's with your mate, or your roommate, or your son or your daughter, or you parents, what kind of gift could I give them on this occasion? I want to impart to you some spiritual gift.
Too often we look at it the other way, "What gift can they give me?" We go looking to them for some attention, or information, or affection. What connection does this person have that I could use? What promotion could they give me? What money could they give me? Well, this doesn't talk about living for you to impart to me. It's about me imparting to you.
Or maybe, you too often impart a gripe instead of a gift. There are some people who just tend to drop bad news or some burden on everybody they meet. You walk away and they are feeling down or suddenly heavier than before you were with them.
Because Jesus lives in you, people should feel richer after they have been with you. Do they? What gift could you give them? A word of encouragement maybe, or just to put your arm around them and pray with them if that would be appropriate right now, or a testimony of how God is at work in your life right now that might help them see how He can work in theirs. Maybe you could share with them just something you're thankful for that God has done for you; a God-sighting you've had today, or maybe some good news about a friend instead of bad news; a verse that came alive for you recently. Maybe just give them a chance to laugh when it's been mostly tears.
The gifts will differ with the person's need, but your mission – your attitude – should always be "What gift can I leave today?" I remember singing that song "Make me a blessing to someone today." Well, you will be a blessing if you approach folks as a giver and not a taker.
I've watched the blessing a person can leave because she's always looking for a gift to give. Why don't you try that as a lifestyle? I think you'll like it, and they'll love it.