Giving and Taking
"It is possible to identify everyone as basically a 'giver' or 'taker' in life. In his First Things First book and management seminars, Steven Covey uses the terms 'contributor' or 'consumer,' but the point is the same. In general, we tend to fall into one of those categories. Are you primarily a giver or taker?"
When my pastor, Dr. Gary Crawford, asked that question during a recent sermon, my response was immediate. "Of course, I'm a giver," I thought. But after reflecting for a few minutes, it dawned on me that everyone probably identified themselves the same way. It reminded me of what Christian psychologist Larry Crabb says, "The person least able to give you a good evaluation of yourself is you."
We would all like to think of ourselves as giving people. Is that how people see us in everyday life? How easy it is to begin to assume that if we don't seek to meet our own needs, they won't be met. Are we really more "blessed" when we give rather than receive?
Think about the important relationships you have. Does marriage work best when we seek to meet the needs of our spouse, or when we demand our own needs be met? What about our relationships with colleagues, students, and friends? When we seek to meet the needs of others (i.e., minister to them), God truly blesses our lives by abundantly meeting our needs. It is a principle in every area of stewardship.
Seeking God first puts us in the position of enjoying Him and reaping all the associated rewards. Jesus promised in John 12:26 that,
"Whoever serves me must follow me;
and where I am, my servant also will be.
My Father will honor the one who serves me."
Little Johnny and his dad went into town to the general store for some supplies. After getting what he needed, the father proceeded to pay at the counter. The clerk, seeing Johnny, asked him if he would like to reach into the candy jar and get a free handful of candy. Johnny was silent. A second and third time the clerk asked Johnny if he wanted a handful of candy; but each time Johnny said nothing. And so the clerk reached in himself and pulled out a handful and gave it to Johnny. On the trip home, Johnny's dad was asking him why he was so shy back at the store, especially when it came to candy. Johnny replied, "Well, I knew that if I was patient, the clerk would give me a handful of candy -- and his hands are much bigger than mine."
Scripture: Acts 20:35 - "In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Action Point: Who can you give to today? Remember, the most important time you can give is to your God by spending time with Him.
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