Re-gifting is the act of taking a present received and giving it to another person. Growing up, I don’t recall my mother ever being a re-gifter. However, she was a re-boxer. I think that’s worse.
In 1985, I was about to turn 16. I really wanted a Sony Sports Walkman. Daddy had just gotten the popular portable cassette player to listen to music while he ran and I couldn’t wait to have one, too.
I’ll never forget tearing through my birthday presents in front of all my friends and getting to the pile from my parents. I reached for the small rectangularly shaped package in the polka-dot paper. I was excited. It felt even more lightweight than the advertisers promised.
Rapidly, my fingernails ripped away the tape and wrapping. I recognized the box with the picture of the bright plastic yellow Sports Walkman prominently featured. With my heart racing and smile widening, I carefully raised the lid. To my surprise, inside the Walkman box wasn’t the portable cassette player I was hoping for but… panties! I was mortified.
Mom smiled and said, “Sorry, honey, I ran out of boxes.”
I learned a really big lesson that day. No, two big lessons. There is terrific disappointment when what’s outside doesn’t match what’s inside. And never give your daughter panties in front of her friends on her sixteenth birthday.
Recently, I was convicted by something Daniel asked when I was updating this blog: “Mom, how many followers do you have?” Turning toward him, I smiled, “Daniel, I don’t know. And, do you know why?”
Pulling him onto my lap, I continued, “When Ms. Gina helped me set up this site, I asked her to hide how many people visit. I know myself too well, sweetheart, and I am often led astray worrying about what people think of me. Every day I’m learning more and more that it is not about who or how many are ‘following’ us, but whether or not we are living our lives in a manner worthy of the One we’re called to follow.”
Our children are being marinated in a culture of celebrity. Even in our Christian churches where the focus can be more about making front page news with attendance records rather than sharing the Good News for God’s glory. May we take heed.
There is no way for our outsides to match our insides if we are entangled in the idolatry of popularity and making a name for ourselves.
Oh how I want my heart’s cry to be that of the eighth-century prophet when he said of the Lord, “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (Isaiah 26:8).
Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to have the greatest gift of all. He’s too big for any box, but telling others about the redemptive power of His love is the only present truly acceptable of re-gifting.