ICFE eNEWS #19-33 - December 10th, 2019
Five Priceless Christmas Gifts
By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors
Are you wondering what to give your friends for Christmas this
year? Might I suggest five gifts that have no price tags, yet
their value is priceless.
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1. The Gift of Time. Here
is a gift that is at the very top of most people’s “want list.”
It is a gift that simply has no substitute. It is universally
desired, and one size fits all.
Little Billy would walk the block to his Grandpa’s house every
afternoon to visit. It was the highlight of his Grandpa’s day.
Sometimes they would swing, sometimes fish, sometimes play
catch, and sometimes just talk.
But one day Billy’s visits stopped. Grandpa call Billy’s mother,
but she would only say that Billy was busy that afternoon. With
great disappointment, the old Grandpa finally concluded that his
grandson was just “too busy” to continue his afternoon visits.
Two weeks later Billy showed up at his Grandpa’s door. He held
out a painted pottery bowl and said, “Here Grandpa, I have been
making this for you. That’s why I could not come to see you!”
“Billy, I love your gift so much. I will cherish it and put it
in my kitchen window. But if you ever decide to make me another
gift, please remember that the gift I value more than anything
else is just the gift of the time we spend together!”
So it is with most of our friends. It is the gift of “the giver
himself” that is much more desired than the gifts he gives.
2. The Gift of Patience. Our
friends may be wonderful people, but they are still just
“people.” As such, they should be viewed, not as finished
projects, but projects “still under construction.”
Inevitably, there will times when our friends forget to call us,
or fail to thank us, or feel that other priorities take
precedence over us. Extending the gift of patience and “cutting
them some slack” will keep us from being so disappointed every
time they do not measure up to our expectations.
3. The Gift of Empathy. Empathy
means “Your pain in my heart.” It is a priceless gift that
extends beyond feeling for someone to feeling with someone.
One does not have to personally experience every situation of
life to be able to identify with someone who is hurting. As a
former Pastor I remember a lady who had lost her husband in a
tragic accident telling me what it was like to go home after his
funeral and see his work boots by the back door.
I began to visualize details of what it must be like to be going
through the trials that my church people were going through.
Doing that, plus walking through the heartaches with them,
developed much more of an ability to be empathetic with people.
Translating their hurt into the details of our world – that’s
what I’m talking about. The person who can do this will develop
4. The Gift of Listening. Wouldn’t
you agree that the reason many of us are not empathetic, is
because we do not really listen when people share their problems
We want the person to quickly summarize their situation so we
can prescribe the solution and move on. I am still learning, as
are most men, that people do not usually want you to heal their
problem; they just want you to hear about it!
Job, the great sufferer of Old Testament fame, had friends that
first surrounded him in the midst of his tragedies. For seven
days they were of tremendous solace as they sat with him and
said nothing. It was when they began to speak and offer their
“explanations and solutions” that they ceased to be of help to
him any longer.
Might God help us use our ears and our mouths in proportion to
the way they were given – twice as much hearing as talking!
I know of few things that are more precious than a friend who is
a good listener. Empathetic people usually get that way by being
5. The Gift of Encouragement. People
who are encouragers seem to have more friends, because
encouragement attracts people like a magnet!
An unexpected card, a text, a call, a visit, an email, or an
invitation to coffee – it does not have to be much to be deeply
appreciated. It can literally transform a dismal day into an
enjoyable day. It can be like a cool drink in the midst of a dry
Wouldn’t it be a great idea if each morning we determined to
encourage at least one person before the day is over? That type
of a habit would result in a lot of changed people – not just
the ones who are encouraged, but also the ones who are doing the
Gifts do not have to cost much to be costly. In fact, there is
usually not a direct correlation between the two. The costliest
gifts are priceless gifts because they include a part of us.
So, carefully consider what gifts you will send this year.
Someone wise person said, "We make a living by what we get, but
we make a life by what we give.”
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023