Monday, November 29, 2010

The Shape of a Ring

We were speechless as we realized what she had just done. With her mother's death fresh in all of our minds on our first Thanksgiving without her, our aunt gave my sister & I her mother's wedding rings.

Later she said she believes Grandma would have wanted that.

What my aunt did in that moment is what I want to do. The more I think about it, the more I realize it's what I'm meant to do.

Being in Ethics this semester, I've recently been taught what it means to take God's name in vain. Basically, it's when I claim that I'm doing what God wants me to do when it's really something He wouldn't be pleased with or want His name associated with.

So, I realized that bearing His name is doing exactly what my aunt did for my grandma. She did what she believed my grandma would want. It was more than that, too, though.

Part of what made it meaningful was the fact that it was a sacrifice for her. My aunt gave up something special & valuable to herself because she thought my grandma would want that. She also knew that it would hold meaning for us...and it does.

Every time I look at the ring or feel it or think about it, I also think of Grandma.

That's what doing something in God's name does: it makes the person think of Him in a positive light whenever they remember the event.

So it makes me wonder: what does God want me to do in His name? What do I have that I can give? clothes? money? time? What do people need? What will be meaningful to them? a friend? a note? a joke?

It's useless to give gifts that aren't meaningful, but I've done it sometimes just to make myself feel that I could mark good deeds off my list for a while without having to put much thought or effort into it.

What's meaningful to one person might not be important to another. If my aunt had given the rings to someone who didn't know my grandma, they would have appreciated it...but they wouldn't have cherished it, especially if they didn't know the rings had been hers. If my aunt explained that it had been her mother's & then told what she was like in a way that related to the person she was giving the rings to...maybe then they would cherish them.

I don't expect it to suddenly be an everyday occurrence  that I give meaningful gifts in God's name. But the more I think about it, the more likely I am to recognize it when an opportunity does arrive. Not only will I be more likely to recognize it, but I will also be more likely to realize it's something I want to do, can do, and am supposed to do.

And then I will also be more likely to implement it, simply explaining that I believe God wanted them to have the gift. Sometimes a person won't even need an explanation...just as my sister & I didn't need to be told that the rings were our grandmother's. We just knew.

Maybe then God will be pleased with the way I use His name...and so will the person who feels His love through the gift, whether it's in the shape of a ring or in the shape of a smile.

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