What do you immediately think of when you see or hear this word?
Is it Christmas when the giving and getting of presents abounds? Or possibly birthdays? Weddings (or wedding showers)? Valentine's Day for sweethearts? Graduations? The list is endless. It goes on and on. There are so many occasions in today's world for gifts to be given or received. So much so that they often seem to be obligatory, reluctantly purchased and given for reasons other than from the heart.
The Dictionary defines "gift" as a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present, a donation, an offering, a contribution. It also defines gift as a natural ability or talent. In all cases, the word "gift" implies the giving away and the receiving of something precious.
The Bible mentions "gift" 92 times (NIV) and the greatest gift of all time will forever more be the gift of eternal life, purchased for us by Jesus on the cross. Generosity for us is important and gifts are essential.
For Christians, giving is expected. In our lives, giving opportunities aren't only monetary in nature, the sharing of the treasure we hold in trust for God. We are also to be generous with our other gifts, Time and Talents.
In His letter to the persecuted Christians in Jerusalem, Peter told them, "Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."