Giving and Receiving

Tackling him wasn’t really an option, though it did cross my mind.  He is a newly-minted 5-year-old who weighs forty-ish pounds and I am a grown adult roughly the size of a Mini Cooper.  He would have turned into a greasy spot and I would have been turned over to the police.  It would have been a bad way to end a perfectly good birthday party.

The party was for my ugly brother’s son who avoided life-long tragedy by virtue of looking more like his mother.  He is a good kid with big smile and a natural british accent.  I’m not sure where the british accent came from because the rest of us sound like we are from Kornfield Kounty (bonus points for an obscure Hee Haw reference).  It was a good party in spite of the smell and I enjoyed spending time with family.  It wasn’t until the end when he was opening his presents that I entertained the possibility of making like Ray Lewis gone rabid.  This was when my wife told me that she may have accidentally put a $100 bill in the card that we gave him instead of the far less substantial amount that we had planned on.

My wife walked up to me with wide eyes to share this important bit of information with me when my nephew began opening his gift-opening marathon.  My stomach immediately began to ache and it wasn’t because of the birthday cake that I had just eaten with reckless abandon.  Since I have never tasted alcohol I have never been able to drink anyone under the table, but I can birthday-cake-eat anyone under the table.  The reason for my digestive tract pain was because I knew that we could not afford to give him that much money and I wasn’t sure how to retrieve it if we did.

What was I going to do if he opened the card we gave him and found $100?  My first thought, after quickly dismissing the idea of tackling him, was that maybe he wouldn’t make a big deal out of any money he would receive and quietly hand it to my sister-in-law who would no doubt know that we had made a mistake.  This notion vanished as I saw him open other cards, pull money out, and wave it around while the other kids yelled “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!”  My second thought was to let him just keep it, but then we wouldn’t have enough money this week for important things like food, gas, or to give my kids money from the tooth fairy (they have been losing more teeth recently than an MMA fighter with a meth addiction). 

I finally came to the conclusion that if there really was a $100 bill in the card that we gave him that I would have to suck it up, admit our mistake, and ask for it back.  It would be embarrassing and I would feel pretty crummy, but I would have to endure. 

After opening up all of his other gifts, he finally came to the card we had gotten him.  As he slowly opened the envelope, I said a prayer that he would pull out the fifteen dollars we had allotted and not a big ‘ol Benjamin.  I think that I let out an audible sigh when I saw that I had worried for nothing.  My wife had not made a mistake and I would not have to beg for forgiveness.  We gave him the right gift, exactly what we wanted him to have. 

This is also what God gives us–exactly what he wants us to have.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

It seemed like my nephew liked every thing that he received, even the small amount of money that we gave him.  Sadly, the same can not be said for how I respond to every gift given to me by God.  Sometimes I want something more.  Sometimes I want something different.  Sometimes I want what he gave someone else.

I need to remember that God gives me exactly what he wants me to have, that he makes no errors, that he is good and so are the gifts that he gives.

Maybe  I should get someone to tackle me the next time I appear ungrateful for what God provides.

Any volunteers?

(Have you ever worried while watching someone open a present you gave?  Have you ever been disappointed by what God gave you?  Share away!)

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23 thoughts on “Giving and Receiving

  1. I have the tendency to think God has ripped me off but then soon realize that what he gave me was really a gift after all. Like Him bringing us to a small town in Texas after spending my entire life in a big city ( I went to college in the Dallas area.) I was seriously like “God really? This is what you give me?” It didnt’ take long for me to realize that being here really was a gift – have a great ministry, great family close by, great job, etc. I am such a baby!

  2. Funny stuff. I’ve felt worried about what I was giving to someone before… would they like it? Are they going to think it stupid? Gratefully, it turned out okay… but definitely unsurfaced my fear of having to people-please (another issue… lol).

  3. that’s me. i guess i’m an ingrate. i tend to read too much into it when He doesn’t give me what most people seem to have. but i’m just thankful that i won’t be screwing up my life any worst than i did before i went back into His light.

    i suck at gifting. i’d rather treat them to a meal and enjoy the fellowship.

  4. Matt, this post made me laugh. I have been there with so many things that turned out not to be a big deal – man, oh man, how we worry and make ourselves sick over things that haven’t even happened yet. How much older do we make ourselves by worry?

    Wait…why do YOU give your kids money from the Tooth Fairy? Is the Tooth Fairy.. wait, is this why I haven’t been getting magical money from all my adult teeth I’ve been pulling out? I KNEW that Gold Teeth shop was up to something!..

  5. I can’t volunteer to tackle you. First of all, my husband frowns on it when I go around tackling other people. Second of all, I’m busy getting the plank out of my own eye. 🙂
    Very well done post.

  6. Neat story and well told. I learned how to avoid uncomfortable scenes like this one years ago. My strategy involves a complex method of never owning any one hundred dollar bills. Works every time.
    Love the application at the end. And sure, I will tackle you. It’s the manly accountability partner concept my best friend and I worked out years ago.

  7. The next time you award yourself bonus points on your own post, I will have to tackle you. Otherwise, excellent post. Also noted: never open presents in front of Pastor Matt.

  8. Oh that’s scary and hilarious. Glad it happened to you and not me. 🙂 I can be so bad sometimes that I don’t even recognize that the gifts from God are gifts. That’s pretty sad. Thanks Matt.

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