Small Gifts: Contributing To Other's Happiness
For each gift that you make to a man’s spirit,
Servant gift, not the kind that dishonor brings,
There’s a peace that comes soft. (Can your ears hear it?)
And the heart of the man soon forgets its stings.
A first kiss from a girl that you really love,
Like a star that in falling comes home at last,
With a passion that witnesses truth thereof,
The feared slap in the face just a stale forecast.
Or the one who stands with you when all have left,
Unexpectedly present when future’s die,
Putting hand on your shoulder when you’re bereft,
Oh, the warmth that assures that this friend’s no lie.
My mom’s father just beamed when I’d work with him,
And fish too, when weather did not disabuse, (1)
With a stink bait that made catfish prospects grim
A male mentor whose love was not there to use.
A gift notebook just meant for new poetry,
That conveniently can stay close at hand,
Unexpected, but still quite a treat for me,
Home for poetic thoughts that arrive unplanned.
And a minister modeling God’s caring, (2)
In the wake of Church Christmas (planned gifting) bomb,
Taught a boy (who got nothing) to love sharing,
Justice bifurcates, half is Dad, half is Mom.
All the accidents waiting, in fate hiding,
Those that never quite come to your threshold’s door.
God’s provision? His heart with mankind siding?
Your close calls alone - stains blood red mar the floor.
A sweet letter that comes from a love once lost
Can still channel cool water to desert’s gate,
Makes a lie ‘must defend love at any cost,’
Shouts that ‘true love abounds if just people wait.’
Each small gift lifts subsistence to fine living,
Even though some will think it is really odd,
Good receivers (required to complete giving)
Are what give a gift life in the heart of God.
Nov. 15, 2014
Surely each stanza of this poem in fact deserves its own poem of exegesis, and two stanzas actually have them already. This poem is an excellent introduction to my work and life…
(1) See my poem ‘Fishing With Older Men' for an expanded view of the fourth stanza.
(2) See my poem ‘One Man's Miracle' for an expanded view of the sixth stanza.
The last stanza of this poem suggests a reason why some gifts fail to accomplish the desired effect. This suggestion is that sometimes our gift giving does not align itself with the will of God and may fail because of that. Indeed it suggests that gift giving places a moral burden on both the gift giver and on the gift receiver that is not obvious to all perhaps.
The moral burden on the gift giver is prayerful thought as to whether the gift should be made at all. We can only give what God has given us in the end. To be good stewards of His provision for our lives, should we not give gifts that are aligned with our desire to serve God himself? Does it not weaken our stature as His servants when we ‘throw pearls before swine' and then bemoan the fact that our giving accomplished nothing?
The moral burden on the gift receiver requires similar prayerful thought. Surely some gifts should be refused, especially those we discern are given to bind us in servitude to the giver, and do not serve what should be our joy in God's provision, but instead dredge up feelings of humiliation due to the depth of our neediness. Your debt as a gift receiver is always to God, not the gift giver. It is from God that all true blessings flow. Any hint to the contrary suggest strongly that the gift should be rejected, however well intentioned the gift giver might seem and however needy you might feel yourself to be.
Copyright © Brian Johnston | Year Posted 2014