By Joseph J. Mazzella
I was a young substitute teacher trying to make American history exciting to a class of bored sixth graders. I was going over a list of things the founding fathers had done for our country. Going off the lesson plan I mentioned that today people can still give a lot of their country, community, and people around them. “What do I have to give?” asked a cynical voice from the back of the class. I looked over heads to the tired, sad face of the boy who had asked to question. Thankfully, God gave me just the right thing to say. I looked the boy straight in the eye, smiled and said, “Everything!”
It was true too. Everything we have and everything we do can be a gift that we give to this world. Every smile we smile is a gift. Every kind word we say is a gift. Every hug and kiss we share is a gift. Every penny we give to the poor is a gift. Every action we take to help another is a gift. Every offering we make from the heart is a priceless gift in the eyes of God. In fact, our whole lives here can be a gift that we share.
There is something, however, that is even more important than the gifts we share in this life and that is how we give them. Any gift we give expecting something in return is worthless. Any gift we give only out a sense of duty or obligation is meaningless. In order for a gift to really be of worth it must be given in love. Only the gifts we give in love have value in the eyes of Heaven. Only the gifts that come from the heart can truly make this world a better place.
What do you have to give in this life? Everything! How should you give it? With love! Open your heart then. Let your love flow through all the gifts that you give to others. Let your days here be a joyous celebration of sharing. Make your entire life here a gift of love to God, yourself, and the world.