Voltaire (1694–1778), a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher observed, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” Interestingly enough, gifts of living well may be perfect, or imperfect, but some of the best gifts are free. People may have the gift of health, or knowledge, while there are those who are blessed with both. It’s however necessary to cultivate good gifts to live well.
Gautama Buddha (583 or 480 BC– 483 or 400 BC), founder of Buddhism on the Indian subcontinent wrote, “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” We often hear people say that if you have good health you’re truly blessed. This can be true to a certain extent. It depends on the nature of health issues. There have been cases where disabled persons have attributed their accomplishments to their disabilities, because these handicaps allowed them to focus on those aspects of their lives that mattered most. As ironical as these may sound, through their afflictions they were able to find happiness and contentment.
Simple Ways of Happiness
Still there are those who reduce happiness to rather simple ways. Brad Garrett (b. 1960), an actor and stand up comedian said, “You take away all the other luxuries of life, and if you can make someone smile and laugh, you have given the most special gift: happiness.” To Garrett, just bringing a smile, or laughter to others, you’ll be accomplishing your task in conveying happiness. How amazing! It’s joy cloaked in such simplicity.
But how are gifts passed on? Elizabeth Kŭbler-Ross (1926–2004), a Swiss-American psychiatrist and pioneer in near-death studies said, “We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, and also it greatest curse is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.” According to Kŭbler-Ross, free choice is like a double-edged sword that can cut both ways. Our future depends on children to make good decisions.
There are often discussions about what are perfect gifts, but we must also consider mistakes as some of these gifts. How often have people completely messed up on making wise decisions, and the results turned out better than they expected – often well beyond their wildest dreams. These mistakes may well be their greatest gifts. People therefore mustn’t be afraid to err, for making errors are part of life’s experiences. The fear of making mistakes can rob you of some unexpected gifts.
BeBe Winans (b. 1962), a gospel and R&B singer said, “Love is so unconditional; love liberates; love is the reason I do what I do, and so I think it is the greatest gift we have.” Undoubtedly, agape – love, is the greatest gift from God. It’s transforming, restructures relationships, provides hope, generates joy, and ensures a brilliant future. This supernatural gift is so marvelous that the world is built on it, shaped by it, and lives through it. It’s also a gift of faith. The amazing beauty about it, is, that it’s available to all who seek it. Jesus Christ showed us this by his sacrificial love on the cross at Calvary.
Jim Rohn (1930–2009), an entrepreneur, and motivational speaker reminded us: “Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” Our communication world is massive, and complex. It’s not only personal, but interpersonal. Media exists in all forms and types. Through social media Christians reach out to families, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. These gifts of God are most welcome, for these super-cede our reliance on mainly the traditional electronic and print media.