Two kinds of people roam this earth. Givers and takers…. It’s difficult to tell one from the other. Human nature dictates we all prefer to give. At least we like to be SEEN as givers.
The two tendencies work on a spectrum. Matter of fact, it’s appropriate to take at times. It’s right to give at other times. In any particular scenario two people may both give and take: each in their own measure and their own timing.
Very few people openly take and take. But behind the veneer some people take too much. Others actually give too much… often under the pretense it’s the safe way to act in every situation.
On a blog about losing, inside the study of Godly loser-ship, we need a post about the right and good give and take required in all our relationships. Danger arises when one person takes and takes… especially when they cloak greed behind a calculated hand of generosity toward others. It’s equally dangerous when one gives and gives, cloaking lust for approval behind the sharing of things which never ought to be shared with someone else .
A community engaged in Christian generosity will give to, and take from, one another as Jesus did.
True givers don’t tell about it. It’s not necessary to hide, but they’re free from compulsion to display. Takers give to be seen doing it. They might ‘give in secret’ if it strategically works to their credit as righteousness… but the sum total amounts to cloaking their true identity–takers.
True givers give without conditions. Their open-handedness by-passes gratitude, recognition, power, or even requited love for the blessing of giving to another. They keep commitments even when it hurts, and often they see to others’ needs before their own.
Takers tend to obligate recipients in a number of ways. They game giving for the best return. Takers may let go of material stuff in order to serve their own hunger for relationship, control, or social esteem. They can be seen handing out scraps, seconds and leftovers for the best others have to offer. So they relinquish the less-coveted for things they desire most. Takers stay perfectly poised with a measured generosity. They never stray too far and only manage pouring themselves to a point.
Why make this point?
Check out the three little words in my subtitle… ‘for my sake’. God calls us to sacrifice ourselves upon the true altar of devotion to Christ–not just any altar to man, resident in his own heart. God prospers us most when we discern who exactly we’re dying for… it’s nuanced. People without Jesus often live as habitual takers, and yet it’s right at times for us to pour ourselves out to win them.
Some apart from Christ outdo us in generosity. Perhaps we ought to learn from them, too. However, we need to guard against a graceless payback of indebtedness. Are we giving for Jesus’ sake, or pouring our lives down a rathole on a stone-hard heart-altar which only imagines it’s for Christ.
So, this will be my last caution.
When we lose ourselves for Jesus, our sacrifice satisfies the other because Jesus becomes their sufficiency. When our hard-hearted so-called brethren insist we ‘die’ over and over endlessly it’s time we see their too-sufficient soul can never be satisfied.