I Was Thinking…
NBC News reported that over $1 Billion dollars of gift cards were never used in 2015. Either their expiration date slipped up on the potential user or they were lost or they were forgotten. Whatever the reason…$1 Billion dollars is a lot of dough to waste!
My first thought was “No wonder retailers love to offer ‘gift cards’.” They get the money up front with a chance that the products will never leave their shelves…free money for them!
My second thought was a question “Why do so many of us use gift cards as our giving these days?” The answer disturbed me. I have used gift cards because I either didn’t want to take the time to think about the meaning of the gift that I was giving…it takes effort to buy a gift. Or it was because I was more concerned with pleasing the recipient rather than expressing love and concern for the recipient. Giving a gift card allows them to buy what they desire. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pleasing the person receiving the gift but giving a gift has a goal that runs far deeper than ‘pleasing someone’ as they purchase more ‘stuff’.
My third thought was theological in nature “How much of God’s gift do we waste?” Just like $1 Billion is a lot of money wasted so is to waste God’s love expressed to us through a babe in a manger. If we squander God’s love by not allowing it to flow in and through us then perhaps the waste is even greater than wasting $1 Billion dollars.
My fourth thought was to remember Jesus’ words “If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, ‘Grow up’. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”(Matthew 5:46-48, The Message)
My final thought was a resolve. Gift cards…God’s love…let’s not waste either. May our giving make a difference in people’s lives this Christmas.
Technology and Digital Ministry