Do you ever want to give someone a gift but lose your nerve? Are you afraid that what you can afford may seem insignificant? Do you want to say things to people to let them know how much you admire or love them, but hold back for fear that you won’t be able to find just the right words?
is hard to give the perfect gift. We try. We wrack our brains. We shop hard. We hope against hope to see that look of delight when the gift is opened. It doesn’t usually happen, does it? Instead of perfect, something is off just a bit. Not quite the right color, or size, or features.
If the gift can’t be perfect, is it better to give nothing? If the words aren’t exactly the “right” ones, is it better to speak none?
Consider a woman who gave an awful gift that was just right. It was wrong on so many levels. Her timing was bad as she crashed somebody’s dinner party to deliver her gift. The gift was perfume - to a man. And she poured it on him with everybody watching. It was deemed overly extravagant and misguided. “Why this waste?” some whispered. “It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor” (Mark 14:4).
Then it got really embarrassing. People recognized her – a woman with a reputation for sexual indiscretion. And, she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and that expensive perfume. People were appalled. It was a bad gift in so many ways, wrong on so many levels. Except for one.
Her heart was perfectly focused, and Jesus declared, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Matthew 14:4). So beautiful that he promised, “wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” It’s one of few events recorded by all four gospel authors.
Can’t give the perfect gift? Give love. While others may not be able to know your motive in the same way Jesus did, you can help by explaining it. Write a card or note to share with someone how you feel about them. Let your heart overflow and don’t worry so much about just the right words.
You may goof the grammar, but if your heart shows through, your gift will be a beautiful thing.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.
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