Monday, December 26, 2005

The Ultimate Re-Gift

There is a relatively new term in our American lexicon; this term comes with a stigma to it, but it also one of those terms that comes with a nudge in the side and knowing glances. Its one of those "everyone has done it" phrases. That phrase is "re-gift" or "re-gifting." Basically it means that if you are given a gift that you don't like and need to give a gift to someone else you take the gift given you and give it to someone else. That is a bad definition, but it gets to the heart of the matter pretty well.

I see an awful lot of potential re-gifts in retail. As a Christian, though, I am encouraged to re-gift. I am encouraed to re-gift Christ. I am instructed to "go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matt. 28:19). As I sat in church yesterday singing songs celebrating the birth of Jesus the phrase "re-gift" kept bouncing around in my head. The phrase has taken on a bit of a "smarmy, overtone;" I am actually a bit reluctant to use it.

Paul, in his Patoral letters writes gleefully of the joy he gets when hears about a group of people who have come to faith because someone told them about Christ and his love. Example:
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. 7 You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, 8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:3-14 (boldfacing mine)

or perhaps this:
as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thes. 2:2-4

Paul was able to see how "re-gifting" to others spread the Word and the Grace of Jesus Christ.

Maybe its better to say "share-gift" instead of "re-gift." I was reminded yesterday of a little skit we used to do at Camp Lone Star. It was a silent skit, but it went something like this: someone walked around with an invisible box in their hand and other people came up and take the box, but the person would turn away and the box would get smaller. Eventually, the person with the invisible box would relent and give the box to someone else, but to the surprise of everyone the box got bigger after the second person got a part of it. The second would share the box and so forth and so on. It was a simple skit that got the point across: share the joy, share the gift.

I have decided that I don't like that term "re-gift," because in fact I am not re-gifting when I tell someone about Christ, but giving them their own special gift.

Blessings to all this Christmas Season and may your New Year be filled with peace and blessed.

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