A little over a week ago, Tricia and I helped celebrate our grandson, Conor's 4th birthday. After the birthday party at a local horse farm, we went back to Dan and Lindsay's house to open his gifts. In the course of so doing the concept of re-gifting came up. You know, receiving a gift from someone you really don't want or need, then turning around later and giving it as a gift to someone else --hoping, by the way, it is not a gift they initially gave you earlier! I've heard those moments happen and are quite awkward.
Anyway, later in the week I got to thinking about how the idea of re-gifting is actually God's idea, not in the form just described, but in terms of how the Kingdom of God is seems to operate. Here are some of my first thoughts about the matter:
1. God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit existed in pure, loving community of joy, and complete communion. However, they did not keep it to themselves because it is the very nature of love to give to the other, so they created us. Love withheld dies. We were created to share in the love and communion of the Trinity.
2. God created the world and gave it to those he also created, that they in turn would cultivate it and ultimately share its fruits with others, especially those in need or want. God gave the world and its fruits not to be hoarded but to be shared freely. Hoarding in creation creates division and inequity of resources or worse: aggression fueled by greed.
3. God gave Jesus, his son for the ransom of humankind so they in gratitude would give themselves (love and sacrificial service) in a way that others would come to know him and do the same (replication). If we live a "just Jesus and me spirituality" we become myopic, and spiritually self-absorbed.
4. God gave natural and spiritual gifts to each person desiring that they would give them in service to the world and to the benefit of others. Talents and gifts are to be given or they atrophy.
5. God gave the Church to teach revealed Truth, and create life-long, missional Christ-followers who exhibit in the world his living Presence, justice, healing and freeing love. A church that hasn't learned to do so is slowly suffocating and dying.
6. Jesus said that if we hold onto our lives we will lose them and if we give away our lives for his sake, we will find them. Re-gifting vivifies all of Creation.