Thursday, December 5, 2013

Selfish Gift Giving

Have you ever wondered how a gift can be selfish? When most of us think of giving a gift, we presume the ACT of giving a gift would eliminate the concept of selfishness. However, if our heart is focused upon us and NOT the recipient of the gift, then our gift has become a symbol of our selfishness. This is most obvious when we are attempting to please ourselves in our gift giving.

For example, when I give a gift to my wife I want her to have, say… the newest telephone technology, and I don’t even consider her needs or desires, is my gift for my benefit or my wife? She may not desire a new phone. Another, more subtle example, but I believe a worse example, is when we give a gift SO THAT we are acknowledged as generous, isn’t our gift selfish, even if the gift itself is not a direct benefit to us? Sometimes even social custom creates the obligation for us to give a gift. Someone gave us a gift, so we are OBLIGED to give a gift in return. Otherwise we might be considered selfish. How ironic, we act selfish in order to not be considered selfish.

The act of selfish giving is also present in charitable giving, such as giving to the Church at Christmas. There are two ways we can give, financially speaking, to our Church. We can either give the Church a donation with the instruction, “Do with it as you wish,” or “Here is my gift, but you MUST do THIS with MY gift.” Which is selfish? Which is a genuine gift vs. a purchase of influence?

Christian is often called the “season of giving” but I wonder what the condition of our hearts might be in the gift giving. Are we focused upon US or the one to whom we give the gift? Something to think about when you go out this year Christmas shopping.

This post is written for the 40 Days of Blogging Challenge sponsored by the Preachers Institute. You may find other blogs participating in this challenge. I hope you enjoy this year’s Advent journey.

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