Monday, February 10, 2014

Givers and Takers

I learned a lot of things in my childhood. My days of being a young, freckled face little girl were filled with many lessons. I remember many of them well and some have unfortunately probably slipped to the back of my mind. However, I thank heaven that I remember one thing well.

Be a giver, not a taker. 

My parents were givers. They didn't take much and when they did, it was only because God graciously laid it in their laps from someone who insisted that their gifts were from Him.

What can one give? Time, energy, money, love, kindness, material things, encouragement, and the list goes on. You can be a time giver, money giver, love giver, kindness giver, material things giver, encouragement giver, etc. OR you can be a time taker, money taker, love taker, kindness taker, material things taker, encouragement taker.

Makes it sounds so simple, doesn't it?

There is a perfect balance somewhere. Mostly giver, but willing to take as well. That is the perfect mixture of both. Jesus gave. He gave miracles, but he was willing to receive a place to rest and food to eat.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11:24

People used to tell me that public school and a college campus was the "real world." I couldn't disagree more. The real world is paying bills, leaning completely on your own ability to navigate a new town where you now live, cooking supper every night with limited groceries, working with people who have never before see you a day in their life, having no idea what you're doing, going to doctors offices totally alone and far away from anyone who can be there for you.

This is the "real world." At least I think so. But why do I bring up the "real world"? Because that is where I met the takers.

When I plunged headfirst into this world, like a swimmer diving into a pool, I imagined that people cared about other people. There must be givers and takers to make the world go round. Right?

The more I involved myself in things, I noticed something. Give an inch, they'll take a mile... no, a thousand miles. I was just trying to do what I had always done: give. But the more you give, the more they take. Poor givers are left burnt out and depleted of everything while the takers gorge on all they plundered.

I'm not trying to vent here. Really. I just want to ask you a question. What are you? A giver? A taker? You can tell a giver a mile away and you can tell a taker a too... though they may be less noticeable at first. Yet, people figure out what you are eventually.

It's been said that givers go further in life. Givers don't have to be rich. In fact, most aren't!! Takers aren't always poor. Many poor people refuse to take. It's a way of life. Givers can be frugal and look out for good deals, but takers tend to seek handouts. They hang by those givers and drop hints of "needs."



Oh for the days when people took pride. For the days when being a taker was embarrassing. Even people who weren't Christians generally didn't like taking.

I am saddened and disappointed in the way people take. Christians are just as bad. If you offer something for free, from then on they expect never to have to pay for anything again. They'll suck you dry of your time and energy.

The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives. Psalms 37:21

I pray that if I take from someone I will look for opportunities to "refill" them and repay some way. After all, people are looking to us as examples. Some may say that this is silly and an unnecessary blog post, but I believe that God laid this on my heart and mind and it had to come out here. Maybe this is for someone who needs to give or for someone who needs to stop taking advantage of someone's kindness.

I encourage you, if all you ever do is give and sacrifice, you are a rare jewel. But I encourage you to be willing to take. Let someone help you. Give takers and chance to repay. If you find yourself always taking time, energy and resources from others, I encourage you to seek out ways to help others.

Jesus was the greatest giver of all time, let us follow in his footsteps. Others will always remember us by our legacy of giving.