Re-gifting - Pass It On!
I think most everyone has re-gifted at some time. Someone gives you a gift that you appreciate but don’t have a need for. Maybe someone admires it and you offer it to them as a gift. That’s re-gifting.
Let's consider a different kind of re-gifting. We each receive wonderful spiritual gifts. We want them and we need them. But they aren’t just for us. They are gifts to share with others – to re-gift to others. The neat thing about this type of re-gifting is that when we give the gift away, we still have it, and sometimes we have even more than we had in the beginning. Giving the gift to someone else actually increases the amount of the gift that remains in me.
There are at least six spiritual gifts that we are called to re-gift. Each of these is a gift from God, and each is something that God calls us to re-gift to others in our lives.
I have known a lot of love in my life. I grew up in a loving family and we still enjoy being together today. I married into a wonderful family, and my husband’s parents could not have loved me more. When I was a teen, I babysat for a family 3-4 afternoons a week. That family loved me. I remember once when I needed a loan for college. I asked the mother Sue Bucholz for help. I still recall her exact words to me: “Colleen, don’t you know that if you asked me to lay down on the ground and let you walk all over me, I would do it?” I was well loved – and still am, and that is a great gift. I didn’t know it at the time, but my experience of love was not what everyone else experienced.
If you know God, you know love because God is love. You have received the gift of love. What are you supposed to do with it? Jesus said in John 15:12-15 to love one another. That is how we re-gift the love we have been given. We love the people God puts in our life. 1 John 4:19 says that we love because he first loved us. When I love another person, I am sharing God’s love with them. The love we have allows us to love others. Those who have never known love - can’t love. The most angry and difficult people in our lives need to be loved. If they are loved, they can be transformed. God calls us to re-gift His love so that others can know love as we do.
In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus teaches us the Lord’s Prayer. One petition is to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. I ask God to forgive me to the degree that I forgive others. Jesus led the way in forgiveness by asking the Father to forgive those who crucified Him because they did not know what they were doing. Jesus is on the cross because of OUR sins, and so he asks the Father to forgive OUR sins. How much has Jesus forgiven you – forgiven me? We can’t even know, because we don’t realize all the bad that we do – all the times that we choose our own will over God’s. The closer we come to God, the more clearly we can see our own faults and sins. But know that God has forgiven each of us so much. His is an endless fount of mercy.
So I’ve been given the gift of mercy. What do I do with that? I show mercy to others who have offended me. This is very hard to do, I admit. But look at it this way – am I forgiving them of something more than God has forgiven me? Consider also that when I live in unforgiveness, I suffer much more than the other person. God is not just asking us to forgive because it’s the right thing to do. He wants us to forgive so that we can be healed. Healed of bitterness, resentment, and hate. A dear friend who was dying told me that he had harbored such unforgiveness for his ex-wife who betrayed him and that was one of the reasons for his sickness. He knew unforgiveness had a physical effect on him. God knows that, too. He wants us to re-gift his mercy so that we can be healed.
Knowledge of God.
Jesus told the apostles to go and proclaim the Good News. When we know God, how can we not tell the whole world? If I love someone, how can I not desire that they know God, who is the best part of my life? We have a responsibility to share the Good News. We have to be wise about how, but we still have to do it. Don't be afraid to share what you know. You don't need all the answers, just your experience of God. Knowledge of God is a gift that is to be re-gifted.
In Genesis 1:27 we read that God created man in his image. That’s why life is precious, because we are created in God’s image. He gives us life as a gift. Do we see it that way? Do we see our own life as a gift from God? Do we see the lives of others as a gift? Do we treat other human people in that way?
If I have been given the gift of life, am I open to bringing new life into the world? Do I encourage others to bring new life into the world, or do I criticize those who have lots of children. The Bible talks about children being a blessing, but the world tells us that children are a burden. Imagine being told that you are a burden just by being alive. It’s not true. Each person has a purpose, a reason they were born; a purpose given them by God, but so many don’t know that. Every life is a gift from God. We should speak of it as such. I have been given the gift of life. I can re-gift it by bringing new life into the world like I did my son, by helping others bring new life into the world, and by encouraging others who don’t realize that their life is precious and meaningful.
The Holy Spirit.
In Luke 11:13, Jesus says If you know how to give good gifts, how much more the Father will give you the Holy Spirit. He promises to give us the Holy Spirit. If you have faith, if you believe in God, even if your faith is as small as a mustard seed, you have been given the gift of faith. You may want more, but know that you already have the gift.
The Holy Spirit guides us and leads us in our journey of faith. Any good inspiration or good work comes through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All things good and true and beautiful come from God through the Holy Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, you want to share Him with others. He is not just for you – he is for you to share.
We give the gift of the Holy Spirit when we pray with others and for others. We give the gift of the Holy Spirit when we share a word from God to another person. A friend was questioning God’s love for her, and I was able to remind her of the many ways she had already experienced God in her life. I was sharing the Holy Spirit with her. When I lead a retreat, I am sharing the Holy Spirit with the people there. I always leave even more filled with the Holy Spirit than when I started. That’s the beauty of re-gifting the Holy Spirit – and all of these gifts. You end up with more than you started.
In 1 Peter 3:15 it says that we are called to witness to our faith – Always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is within you. In another place it says, How will they know God if someone doesn’t tell them? If I have faith, will I keep it under a bushel or let it shine for the whole world to see? When I share my faith with others, it increases my own faith. Faith is not just me and God. It’s me and God and whoever else he puts in my life. So give your faith away.
How do you do that? Maybe you have been turned off by people who seem to push their faith on you and you don’t want to be like that. Or you know people who can quote scripture and verse from the Bible and you can’t. You don’t want to look like a fool, especially if they ask a question you can’t answer. There are lots of reasons not to share our faith. But if we listen to God, He will lead us to share at the right time and in the right way. We think about how different our life is now that we know Jesus as compared to what it was like before – and we tell that to others. Each of us has a story to tell, and we live our faith in all that we do, in all that we say. We are the light shining on a hill. When we live our faith, people are attracted to that because a person of faith should be filled with joy – not because their life is perfect but because God is with them.
Whenever we are re-gifting, we should begin with those closest to us. That's who God puts in our life to serve first. After them, we move outside the family and into the church family and community.
Our model is always Jesus. What did he gift? Everything. He gave his entire life in service to us, so that we can live with Him forever in Heaven. And we follow his lead, re-gifting all the blessings He has showered on us. Praise God for His wisdom and generosity!
Questions for Prayer:
Which of the six gifts do you most enjoy re-gifting?
Is there a gift that you have difficulty re-gifting? If so, why?