Saturday, October 7, 2023

Gifts of Grace

There are certain days of the year that ring of the utmost importance.  Christmas and Easter ought certainly to top the list.  Thanksgiving would closely follow, just below the ultimate duo.  Then…we come to a series of holidays that we just don’t know what to do with…namely, Halloween, Presidents Day, St. Patrick’s day, Columbus Day…or should we say Indigenous People’s Day, and of course…Valentine’s Day.  Of these holiday’s, Valentine’s Day is NOT one of my favorites.  I struggle with having Hallmark tell me to spend my money to purchase flowers and candy for my wife on this specific day…or else.  What gives Hallmark this kind of power?  It can’t be their movie making skills…cuz seriously, if you have seen one Hallmark Christmas movie…then you have seen ONE too many Hallmark Christmas movies.  Yet, I know that if I don’t obey the Hallmark rules…then I may NEVER see another Hallmark Christmas movie…but, let’s be honest…is that really a bad thing?

In protest to Hallmark, I briefly created my own annual holiday. I called it June Day.  June Day would take place on the 1st of June every year, and it was celebrated by me…giving my wife a surprise gift of some form.  It began with flowers and maybe some chocolates.  Then as the years progressed the holiday developed into the giving of shoes and taking her out to eat and sometimes having to do different jobs around the house. 

June Day has now officially and permanently been cancelled due to a variety of reasons including, finances, busyness, forgetfulness, children and likely politics. 

As I look at my history as a husband, I must confess that I have often given gifts to my wife out of “obligation.” I have given the flowers, and candies, and jewelry etc…because I “had to.” I hate to admit it, but it is true.

There have been other times however, that have been different.  For example, after seeing my wife endure a particularly hard day of stressors including, children, work and the like, I surprised her by taking care of supper.  No…I didn’t cook…I ordered pizza, but to her, you would have thought that I had baked a beef wellington. 

There is something different about a gift that is given out of grace as opposed to a gift given out of obligation. 

The Apostle Paul speaks extensively about gifts in the New Testament.  Specifically, he speaks about “Charismata.” Charismata is literally translated to “gift of grace.”  Paul uses this phrase to speak about the gifts of the Spirit.  We find this phrase in many of Paul’s writings including 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4.  I believe that if we look closely to Paul’s writings we will see how he draws our focus to what is behind the gift rather than just the gift itself.  For example, Paul reveals the need for love to be behind our every action (1 Cor. 13).  The heart behind the gifts…is grace!    

Believers are given these gifts of grace, so that we may use them…as gift of grace to others, that they too may experience God’s grace.     

May the gifts of grace that have been bestowed upon us, be expressed in grace to those around us, not out of obligation, but rather for what it literally is…a gift of grace.

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