I, too, am thinking about the rules of gift-giving, Sam.
We are still savoring chapter one of The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by Lewis Hyde. Visit HCB for more thoughts on our book club selection this month.
After a week of Vacation Bible School during which I was alternately frustrated and elated…I am left wondering where the offerings will end up.
Will they come full circle? Or benignly fall to the ground, finding no purchase?
Rule # 2 on Sam’s list particularly has me stumbling this week: Don’t expect a gift in return.
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” (1 Cor. 3:6)
A gentle reminder.
I just glanced out the window to see a lone milkweed seed blowing in the breeze. It meandered through the current haphazardly, first drifting low and hanging suspended momentarily before soaring to heights unknown.
There is One who blows the wind, Beloveds.
And lest I pull back what my hand offers in frustration, Hyde reminds, “What is given away feeds again and again, while what is kept feeds only once and leaves us hungry.”
Beth Moore tells a story about visiting a poor African village with her husband. Their guide told them that one of the most frustrating things for the missionaries was teaching the villagers to plant the seeds they are given. Too often these poor people will eat the seeds instead of planting, missing the blessing of a harvest in favor of immediate gratification.
When we give of ourselves we are planting the seeds.
Too often I gobble up what is in my hands, too blind to see the potential for future harvest.
And then, it is gone.
And I am left hungry.
It may feel like we are blowing in the breeze, friends, but the more seeds we loose the more chance of implantation.
I am reminded that in order to receive, our hands must be empty.
Hyde says, “The gift moves toward the empty place…the gift does move from plenty to emptiness. It seeks the barren, the arid, the stuck, and the poor. The Lord says, ‘All that opens the womb is mine,’ for it is He who filled the empty womb, having earlier stood a sa a beggar…”
Am I open to receive what He would give me?
I stand, empty-handed today. My gifts are not merely blowing in the breeze. They are in the hands of the Giver of All Good Things.
That is why I give the gift.