Thursday, June 30, 2011


Re-gifting, that is, giving to someone else a gift one has been given, is considered by many to be "politically incorrect."

It is said to be an insult to both the original giver and to the second-hand recipient.

It is said to be a breach of etiquette, even if one thinks of it as a form of re-cycling.

What brought this to mind was that line in Matthew's Gospel, "Without cost you have been given, without cost you are to give" (10:8). We used to translate it, "Freely you have received, freely give."

And some have interpreted it, "What you received as a gift, give as a gift."

Jesus, then, thinks it's perfectly OK to re-gift. In fact, he recommends it.

A popular saying suggests that "grief shared is divided in half; happiness shared is doubled."

Does one lose any of God's blessings by sharing them?

Jesus described such a gesture as "laying up treasure in heaven." The economy of the Kingdom differs from the economy of the world.

When Jesus took pity on the crowds, he healed them, protected them, fed them. And he more than implied that what he did we are to do as well. He told the apostles,"You feed them!"

He wants people to serve other people by giving to others what they themselves have received.

I remember stopping at a yard sale, and as I browsed the family's junque I heard one woman say to her sister who was holding the sale, "Hey, Cynthia! This is the purse I gave you!"

It wasn't exactly re-gifting, but it came close.

Re-gifting in terms of the world's goods requires delicacy, diplomacy, and discretion (some say, deception) lest we offend the original giver or the new recipient.

Re-gifting in terms of the gifts of the Kingdom requires generosity, gentleness and grace (some say, goodness)in order to benefit both the giver and the recipient. In this case, we need not fear offending the original Giver.

God is delighted when we re-gift the gifts he has given, and thereby make the Kingdom grow.

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