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Monday, November 22, 2010

Freely Gotten, Freely Given

It is sobering that people can reach mature adulthood and continue to expect that they can get something for nothing.  They can be shocked that a “free” offer for a trinket on-line that required only a shipping charge was really a gimmick to get their credit card information for subsequent fraudulent charges.  It is clearly true that we should (despite the advice of the aphorism) very carefully look gift horses in the mouth.  “Free offers” usually come with heavy strings attached.  Once this is said, however, the truth of the matter is that we really do get a lot for free.  For example, I live in a great city with friendly people.  I have an enjoyable job.  I’m loved by my family.  These are things that I did not nor could not earn.  Yet, correctly seen these are not gifts in the sense that I should hoard them and sit in a corner and selfishly attempt to guard them in my lap like a spoiled child.  Rather, these gifts should awaken a sense of celebration—and with it a sense of obligation.  This obligation is not a belated attempt to earn the blessings I have, but a facet of the mature human response of thankfulness.  This showing of appreciation is more than good manners, it is a simple realization that unearned gifts mean that un-repayable debts are now due.  Giving back is an inseparable aspect of thanksgiving.

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