Daily Reflection
June 23rd, 1999
Joan Howard
University College
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Matthew 7:15-20
The Art of Gift Giving

We see in the reading of Genesis how difficult it can be to give a gift - to select just the right gift for the special someone, and have that someone appreciate the meaning and value of the gift.  There are few gifts which deliver the message more clearly than does a diamond ring or a red rose.  From there on it can be tricky, even for God!

In the Genesis scenario God tells Abram, "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield.  I will make your reward very great."  Abram, not appreciating what exactly this gift means or the depth of the relationship God is inviting him into, waves it off saying, "What good will your gifts be if I keep on being childless…?"   God, not to be put off, in effect replies, Great!  Heirs?  Fine!  You will have more heirs than there are stars in the sky.  And Land to go along with them.  Heirs and land were the most prized possessions of the time.  Abram is so distracted by his world that he does not see the true gift.

God goes on to tell Abram that all will not always be easy for his children and their descendants.  God, however, in his ongoing invitation to Abram tells him, "you shall join your forefathers in peace; you shall be buried at a contented old age."  God has offered Abram, his beloved, three wonderful, generous gifts - to be his shield, peace, and contentment in old age.  Abram apparently did not recognize any of the gifts.  This however did not dissuade God in his overtures to Abram.

How often have I tried to pick out something really special for someone really special, not so much for the item itself, but for the message it carried?  Have I been hurt or offended when the message was not valued or recognized?  How often have I not recognized the gifts of God in my daily life?  How often have I not responded to the invitation to a deeper relationship which the gift carried?  Our God is a very loving God whose gifts are not conditional.  Our God continues to call us into a deeper relationship - another wonderful gift!  Another seed to plant in the garden of my heart.

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