Cash Instead Of Gifts

During our last revival, one of our guest speaker’s stories stuck with me, about being taken to a Broadway musical. The person who treated him had never been to one himself. So after the first half of the show, when the intermission started, he thought the show was over. Pastor Park knew that it was only intermission, but didn’t have the heart to embarrass him by saying so, so he left with him without saying a word.

This anecdote shows how gentle and considerate Pastor Park is!

I am more or less a straight talker. I have reason for being so. If a nurse tries too hard to not hurt a patient when administering a shot, she will likely hurt the patient more. It’s better to just stick the needle in boldly and get it over with. Similarly, I believe that if you are blunt and honest, it may embarrass or hurt others momentarily, but in the long run, it saves them from unnecessary misunderstandings and conflicts.

In this spirit, I’d like to share my thoughts about gifts, even though it may offend some people.

People occasionally leave small gifts in my office, such as homegrown vegetables, homemade kimchee, and imported food from Korea. I really appreciate their love and kindness when I receive these gifts.

But sometimes people give more expensive items, like neckties for me or scarves for my wife. My wife tells me that many of them cost over $100. But we are now in the stage of our lives when we want to give away even what we already have rather than collect new personal items.

So if you really want to give us an expensive gift, give us cash instead of gifts. Some people may think that a cash gift would embarrass us, but it does not. It’s actually more useful to us because we can use it to help needy people or contribute to mission funds. And even with cash, please don’t give more than $100. Amounts above that make me feel uncomfortable. If you plan to give us a huge value gift certificate as a present, just give us a clean $100 bill.

My wife may be flabbergasted when she reads this column. And I am a little worried about our congregation’s reaction. But I feel I have to do this because I know that some people go to a great deal of trouble to choose the right gifts for us and others spend too much money buying gifts for us that we don’t really need.

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