When one really stops to think about it, there is nothing that is not gift. Everything we think we give to You has first been given to us by You. Our prayers, meditations, contemplation, devotional time, good works, money for the poor – even the times we thank You for these things – it’s all gift!
When someone gives us a gift we really like, we usually feel indebted to reciprocate. How can we do that with You when even the desire (let alone the ability) to reciprocate is itself Your gift? It seems, therefore, impossible to give You a gift. When a person is in love with someone he/she has a strong desire to give the loved one something. To love is to give – and our ability to feel that way and want to do just that is itself Your gift. How can I give You, whom I love, anything? Even my self already belongs to You. The answer may go back to the will and its choices – also Your gift. But the choices we make with that gift are ours, and what’s ours we can give.
When we receive a gift from someone but don’t like it or have no use for it, we ignore it, return it, or put it away someplace out of sight. But in no way can we deny that the gift was given to us. In our culture, even if we ignore it, we are left with a perception of indebtedness to reciprocate, but not necessarily a feeling of willingness to do so since we didn’t like the gift. Yet if we did like the gift the willingness to express our sincere gratitude and the desire to do something in return looms large. We really want to do something for the giver. But the gift we liked is no more or less a gift than the one we didn’t like. The differentiation is in us, not in the gift, and certainly not in the giver.
Maybe the gift we can give to You is the simple recognition of Your gifts to us and the desire to use them and accept them as part of ourselves. We can will this. Perhaps the parable of the talents sheds some light here. Perhaps it’s all about what we willingly do with what You’ve given us and not just burying it.