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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Re-Gifting Christmas

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This time of year, many people are preoccupied
with thoughts of giving and receiving. We make gift lists and spend time buying, wrapping, and delivering gifts. As we receive Christmas gifts, we may keep some, we may decide to pass some on. The second option is what is called re-gifting.

Most people have at one time or another
re-gifted. What is re-gifting? Re-gifting is taking a gift you have previously received and giving it to someone else. For many, re-gifting is taboo. However, it has become a common practice in our society. Do you know how the words "re-gift" and "regifter" came into English usage? It's actually a very modern word. In a 1995 episode of Seinfeld called "The Label Maker," the character Elaine called another character a "re-gifter." And the word stuck. I'm sure that in the last 19 years you've used the word once or twice yourself.
But what do you think about the act of re-gifting?
Of taking a gift that you've received and giving to
someone else? Do you think it a bit tacky? Do you
think it's okay… as long as you don't get caught?
For years now, Bonnie and I have re-gifted the
same item back and forth with good friends in
Nebraska. Somewhere along the way in ministry, I was given a large (and unattractive) knick-knack of a lighthouse. Our friends were serving as co-workers with us at the time, and they thought it was just so funny. When they came to visit with us at our house, they would always ask where we were displaying the lighthouse. We weren’t.

 Since they seemed to love it so much, Bonnie and I re-gifted it to them. And from that point on, any holiday with gift exchanges, that lighthouse has traveled back and forth between. I even smuggled it into their house during our last visit to them in Nebraska, set it on a shelf behind some other knick-knacks, and they didn’t find in for nearly a week. The lighthouse was left in another state only to have it show up in our
mailbox months later on our wedding anniversary.

That’s correct...I still have it. For now!
But how does the idea of re-gifting apply to our
walk with Christ? Well, in a sense, God tells us that He wants us to re-gift. As believers, we’ve been given many gifts from God. Rather than keeping them all to ourselves, God intends for us to re-gift them to others. Not necessarily with that ugly Christmas sweater you don't particularly like or the neck ties you keep getting, but with the gifts that God has given to you. No, He doesn't want you to give away all that you have, but He does want you to take the gifts that He's given and share them with others.

In Matthew 10:8, Jesus told His disciples, “FREELY
YOU HAVE RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.” Friends, if we have become selfish, hoarding all of the blessings of salvation for ourselves, we need to ask God for forgiveness. The best way to enjoy the blessings we’ve received from Jesus is to give them away to others—“re-gift.”

In Acts 20:35, we have a quote from Jesus we
do not have in any of the four Gospels. Somehow,
Paul was aware that Jesus once said, “It is more
blessed to give than to receive.” In other words,
we’re happier giving than getting. The principle is
not only biblical, it is not only from the Master, is it also true. What parent hasn’t experienced the
truth of this saying?

So this Christmas season, let’s purpose in our
hearts to give freely of the blessings God has freely given to us. Freely we have received—now freely we can give! Who would have thought re-gifting was biblical?

[Ron Otto, preaching minister
Lincoln Christian Church]


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