By Kelly Carr
I have a tough time receiving gifts. Actually I love receiving gifts in the moment. Looking at a wrapped gift incites wonder—what’s inside? I am thrilled that someone thought of me and spent time and money to get something that would make me smile, something I would not buy myself.
But then I start to feel guilty. I feel bad that someone spent time and money on me. I hope I’ve done enough to show generosity in return. In fact, I try to think of ways I could possibly pay that person back for what the gift meant to me, to give an inkling in return for the joy brought to me.
You’d think I’d be used to it by now. I have amazing parents who have been giving to me my whole life. There’s no way I’m repaying them back. I have a husband who is always giving of his energy and thoughtfulness to bring me happiness. I have friends who support, encourage, offer help, listen to me whine, and treat me on my birthday. My ledger is full of people I owe.
But that’s not the point, is it? They give out of love. There are no scales to balance. Yet I can return the love in a multitude of ways, hoping to make them feel valued. I can pay it forward—or backward or sideways!
There is the ultimate conclusion to this, as you well know. One whose gifts we could not possibly repay. I’ll always be guilty in comparison to his holiness. I’ll always owe more than I can reimburse. But that’s not what he requires. He is a Father who gives good gifts. In return I can offer him gratitude and a portion of the wealth, time, talent, and energy he has given to me. Tithes and offerings of all sorts will never even the ledger or balance the scales. Yet it’s a small thank-you.