PERSONS ARE GIFTS…. At least Jesus thought so:
“Father, I want those you have given me to be where I am.”
Persons are gifts which the Father sends me wrapped.
Some are wrapped very beautifully;
They are very attractive when I first see them.
They come in ordinary wrapping.
Others have been mishandled in the delivery.
Once in a while there is a “Special Delivery”.
Some persons are gifts which are loosely wrapped:
Others very tightly.
But the wrapping is not the gift.
It is so easy to make this mistake.
Sometimes the gift is very easy to open,
sometimes I need others to help.
Is it because they are afraid? Does it hurt?
Maybe they have been opened up before and thrown away.
Could it be that the gift is not for me?
I am a person, therefore I am a gift too.
A gift to myself, first of all, the Father gave myself to me.
Have I really looked inside the wrappings? Afraid to?
Perhaps I have never accepted the gift that I am…
Could it be that there is more inside the wrappings than I think there is?
Maybe I’ve never seen the wonderful gift that I am?
Could the Father’s gifts be anything but beautiful?
I love the gifts which those who love me give me;
Why not this gift from the Father?
And I am a gift to others.
Am I willing to be given by the Father?
A person for others?
Do others have to be content with the wrappings,
never permitted to enjoy the gift?
Every meeting of persons is an exchange of gifts.
But a gift without a giver is not a gift: it is a thing,
devoid of relationship to a giver or a givee.
Friendship is a relationship between persons
who see themselves as they truly are:
gifts of the Father to each other, for others…
A friend is a gift not just to me but to others through me.
When I keep my friend and possess my friend,
I destroy my friend’s “giftedness”.
Persons are gifts,
received and given, like the Son.
Friendship is the response of person-gifts to the Father-giver.
Friendship is Eucharist.
We make lists everyday of to-dos,
lists of projects, lists of phone calls to make,
lists of errands, and shopping lists.
We have lists of goals and objectives,
and rainy-day lists.
One list that we might be missing is a gratitude list.
Rather than making a list of what we need
or what we want, let’s make a list of what we have,
and thank God.
Psychologists tell us that a grateful heart towards a deserving person
strengthens relational bonds.*
Over and over in Scripture we see Paul, for example,
thanking God for the people he is addressing.
I wonder if every person in his life was angelic?
I can’t help but wonder if some of those folks he was talking to were, at times, undeserving of praise and perhaps downright ugly.
Even so, Paul expressed thanks by focusing on the good
and downplaying the negative.
Let’s start today by making a list of important people in our lives –
make it a gratitude list with a quick explanation
of one thing you are specifically grateful about each one.
It may be that person, through challenge,
has made you stronger as you’ve learned to adapt and appreciate your differences.
It may be that person has forced you to grow in your capacity to forgive
and extend undeserved grace.
Think of something you can be grateful for
about each person,
and breathe a prayer of thanks for each one.
Father, thank You for the people in my life.
Some bring me both joy and sorrow.
Some bring me challenge.
Some bring me pure delight.
Others cause me to grow in patience.
Through each one, You are making me stronger
and more worthy of Your love
and more worthy of relationships.
Thank You for each one.
Mark and Jill Herringshaw
GIFT OF DISCIPLESHIP
Gracious God, alongside the gift of discipleship there is always also the cost – sacrifices that will inevitably be asked of us, demands that we inevitably must face, responsibilities that we must inevitably accept. Hard though it is to accept, let alone understand, we realise there can be no joy without sorrow, no pleasure without pain, no life without death. Yet we know also that, however great the price may be, the rewards of service far outweigh it, for you promise all who serve you lasting blessings that will never fail; treasure in heaven that nothing shall ever destroy. Help us, then, to offer all that is asked of us, until finally we rejoice in everything you hold in store for us and all your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.