The Power of a Thoughtful Gift

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This morning I’m reminded of the power of a thoughtful gift. Not one given under compulsion, but one given in love.

thoughtful gift giving

I recently told a friend I wanted to start a mug collection (mostly because she has one and she’s super cool). For me, coffee is one of life’s simple pleasures. I enjoy it so much every day. It’s simple and comforting. Relaxing and revitalizing. Refreshing and cozy. It represents deep times with God and friends. It represents relationship and introspection. Everything about coffee puts me in a happy place. I knew a fun mug collection would be oft-used and loved.

A few days later at an impromptu playdate together, this friend reached in her bag and pulled out what appeared to be a crumpled wad of paper and tape.

“I have something for you,” she said as she handed it across the table with a little grin on her face. I quickly unwrapped it, unsure of what was happening.

“A mug!” I exclaimed. “Wow! Thank you!”

She had seen it at World Market the night before and thought of me. She bought it because it had my name written all over it. Just because.

I’ve reflected on why this gift was so meaningful. I’m surrounded by thoughtful, generous friends and family, and these unexpected, personal gifts always get to me the most. I feel loved. I’ve had many opportunities to feel this way over the years.

I think it’s because a gift given out of the blue is purely from the heart. There’s no possibility of the pressure of “birthday” or “Christmas.” This gift is given to bring joy and show love, not to fulfill an unspoken obligation. If you’re in a relationship, sending a birthday box on each other’s birthday will surely make your lover feel special and sweeten up your bond with him or her.

A gift given sacrificially makes me feel humbled. This is a young family. Any gift is a sacrifice of funds and resources. I know that only too well.

A gift given because of something I’ve said makes me feel heard.

A gift given because it fits me makes me feel known.

This leaves me wondering, what does it look like for me to give thoughtful gifts to friends and family?

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)

Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home. Luke 16:9 (NIV)

Let’s do that, shall we?


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  1. Ai says:

    Wonderful post! Those simple, unexpected gifts really brighten someone’s day. Sometimes, we may not even be aware of the specifics of what someone is going through … they may be going through a trial and really need encouragement. In God’s providence, He uses us to encourage someone by these simple acts of love.

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