I have given and been given gifts over the course of my years that have been life changing; for both me and the other person involved in the transaction. There are meaningless transactions and there are significant exchanges. The old saying, "It's the thought that counts," has more truth than we realize. Have you ever regifted...three decades after receiving a gift? If you have, then you get my meaning. My life has been quite transient, changing perhaps. I have not held onto many things from my youth. But, I do have a few things in a trunk: letters, pictures, books, gifts. This means that the ones I held onto were important enough to be held onto by me. This is saying a lot. I have never had much of value in objects, and I have never found much value in objects. So, the tiny little dolls I held onto for 30 years, and then gave to a child could be said to be gifts of love, though they were re-gifted.
One was a precious little German doll. I remember seeing it in the drugstore my Mother shopped in regularly. They gave "Professional Dollars," little paper coupon type collectors items to children proportional to the amount spent by the parent. My Mom gave these to me and I collected them until I had enough to buy something... eventually the doll. So, it made me feel happy to be able to give something of such value... though it may have been cheap at the store, it was valued by me. Also, I have given gifts that were quite expensive and meant nothing to me. I did not value the giving, and did it out of obligation.
The point I am making is that value is in the giving, and the receiving. One of my favorite authors said,
"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give." ~George MacDonald
The TED Talk above by Stacey Kramer is a spectacular truth that we often fail to understand. We often joke about wanting to return some of the "gifts" that God has given us, and some gifts are not non-refundable. So, looking at it from this perspective now, what gifts do you value most in your life? Not the trinkets, or appliances, or musical equipment. Not the clothing, cars, or even college education funds. But, what life altering circumstance has been placed in your path that you have learned to value? Thank the Giver for the gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
In this verse, the word unspeakable means not expounded, or not explained. This is the gift that Stacey Kramer is talking about above. Those things that are unexplained are simply blessings and gifts that are unidentified. They are still in the package. Mystery gifts, not because we don't see them, but because we don't know why they are here, or how they got here. Idiopathic Gifts. Fortunately, the mystery always unravels in the end, and retrospective reveals a greater purpose in every life.
The story of a country, a people, or a town can not be told, but by telling the story of certain people within that place. I've heard said that a group has no morals. That is true, and illustrates why certain things happen within group situations, which never would have happened in any other context. The problem is that usually, within a group, each individual is waiting for the decision of the group. A group can not act. It always takes someone to incite a group. Likewise, it only takes one person to change or set the course of action for all those in the group.
"There is no way of making three men right but by making right each one of the three; but a cure in one man who repents and turns, is a beginning of the cure of the whole human race." -George MacDonald Hope of the Gospel
George MacDonald was a remarkable creature. I use the term creature because we are all created by God. George was a writer of fantasy genre, or rather the instigator of the fantasy genre in his time. just like C. S. Lewis, he was a preacher and had extensive theological training. They were brilliant theologians, and creative writers as well. But George lived a lifetime before Lewis, as Lewis was 7 years old when George died. Lewis credits George MacDonald as being his mentor, or "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later," said Lewis, "I knew that I had crossed a great frontier." Of course, MacDonald also inspired Tolkien, and many other writers to follow in the fantasy genre.
Lewis himself was a man of remarkable vision, living among men of great vision. He died the same day as two other prominent visionaries; John Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. Men such as these did not wait for the group to take action. They set the standard for their time, and many followed them; still follow them today. The fact is, some are propelled forward only by the group, while others are self-propelled by an inner navigation system. It should be God who determines our direction in this life, or how can we expect Him to handle the itinerary for the next life? Yes, His is the GPS, God Positioning Satellite System that will help us find our way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
MacDonald explains in his book Hope of the Gospel the importance of hope. You see, hope is fueled by vision. If you don't have hope, or you have lost hope, then you need to get a fresh vision. Just turn on the navigation system.