Do you like receiving gifts?

“Receiving gifts” is actually a love language. Gary Chapman, the author of Five Love Languages writes, “Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you.”

Much to my family’s chagrin, receiving gifts is one of my love languages. The gifts don’t have to be expensive, but knowing that someone “knows” me well enough to care for me, it just resonates with me in a powerful way.

Except I will confess, there is something weird about my receiving gifts.

I don’t open them. Or I put off opening them as long as I can. I like to carry them around with me, in my workbag or in my car, and periodically when I see them I remember the giver and the love/concern that went into getting me the gift.

I told a friend of mine this once. Because he had not received a “thank you” which he thought was atypical, he asked me if I received the envelope he left on my desk.
I told him yes, but that I had not opened it. It felt “thick” so I had been carrying it around with me (for months – perhaps, six months)!

He became a little animated as he explained that was not a wise move on my part. He said the envelope DID INDEED contain a gift, and one that was time sensitive. I tried to explain my rationale but the more I talked, the more I realized it didn’t make sense.

When we are given gifts, the whole point is to open them.

God, a relationship with God, living in God’s love, and trusting that love – all that is a gift. Yet it is up to us to open that gift.

Some say the words “Do Not Be Afraid” are in the Bible 365 times. I’m not sure that is exactly accurate and I’ve never counted . . . but the bottom line is it is in there “a lot!”

In order to build on our relationships with God, we must throw caution to the wind and let go of our fear. We must trust God and recognize that in the midst of life – the good and the bad, God is there, Good is good, and we do not have to be afraid.

God’s presence and love – it is a gift. We have to trust that when we open that gift, we are going to find a gift that makes life complete!

Check out these three promised from God to Abram, Mary, and the disciples in scripture,

“After all these things, this word of God came to Abram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand.”
(Gen. 15:1, MSG)

“But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you.”
(Luke 1:30, MSG)

“But Jesus was quick to comfort them. ‘Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
(Matt. 14:27, MSG)

With a God like this, one that can be trusted, we are able to travel to new territory. We can ask questions. We do not need to be afraid. We can open up the ultimate gift.

What is stopping you from exploring this gift?