The givers are always looking for ways to help another person whether it’s by giving of themselves physically, emotionally, financially, or relationally. When our children were young, we wanted to teach them about the word “benevolent” which means to give to another without expecting any financial or appreciative gain. When they were teens, we took them down to the inner city to a place called “Baloney Joes,” where the homeless find shelter and a hot meal. Our kids volunteered in serving those meals. Even though they were not expecting anything in return, they were surprised to be blessed by the sincere appreciation from the people they served. It was then that they learned about the blessing of giving. As our children grew into adults, they chose careers that minister to and help others. The world needs more “disinterested benevolence,” the kind of example that Jesus gave with His life.
The takers, on the other hand, have careers or a life that does the opposite. They expect others to always be giving to them. They are usually materialistically minded, seeking what they can get without much effort. Houses, property, cars, clothes, and money are of utmost importance. They appear to be “empty vases,” beautiful on the outside and hollow on the inside.
In observing one woman’s full life until her death, we saw that she was a taker. Throughout her lifetime she acquired inherited property, new cars, several houses, fashionable clothes and wasn’t afraid to use important people’s names to advance herself. In reading her written life story, we noticed that she did not have a positive relationship with her husband, children, or the Lord. As she was dying, she was unhappy and unsatisfied because she realized that she couldn’t take her material possessions with her. Her life was over and she ended up with nothing. Danny Thomas said, “The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”
Many couples find separation in their marriage because one of them is a giver and one is a taker. The giver works hard towards having a good relationship and carries the main load of life while the taker tags along, never happy, and always wanting more. The takers are selfish, vain, and greedy while the givers are selfless, contented, and sharing. The Dead Sea is the Dead Sea because it continually received and never gave.
“We Don’t Have Enough for You”
One day we were making our regular pastoral visits to church members. When we called ahead to make our next visit, the husband surprisingly blurted out on the phone, “We were just going to have some strawberry shortcake but we don’t have enough for you.” When we arrived, the wife tried to politely offer us some strawberries, and of course, we hesitated as to how to answer. A giver would share their last strawberry but a taker would begrudge parting with even one berry.
At one of our church potlucks, a fashionably dressed couple who never contributed food but always showed up to eat, approached me with an unbelievable question, “Do you think we need to go to the car and get our can of olives for the potluck?” Jesus taught us to serve others. He knows the giver will receive the greatest blessing. To serve and give is to be happy! The takers are not usually happy or satisfied.
Better to Give Than to Receive
Jesus said, “It is better to give than to receive.” Here’s a little test to know if a person is a giver or a taker. Surprise them with a small, thoughtful gift and watch carefully for their first reaction. If they show a phony, disgusted, or unhappy look, they are most likely a taker. But if they show genuine and sincere appreciation, they probably are a giver.
Believe it or not, a gambler is a taker. They have an attitude of getting something for nothing and all the while don’t see that they are throwing their life’s savings away, hoping for the “big take.” Have you ever observed a taker family waiting for the “big take” from a dead relative’s inheritance? It’s a horrible and ugly sight to see the greed coming out of the closet. The taker likes to get something for nothing and will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve. Dishonesty, lies, manipulation, and anger come out for all to see. A true Christian doesn’t go there. To the Christian, relationships are more important than money or material possessions. Seek joy in what you give, not in what you get.
The Choice is Ours
If we look back biblically to the beginning of time, we read that this problem started in heaven when Lucifer wanted to take over God’s position. As a God-created angel, Lucifer wanted more. He was unhappy and unsatisfied and wanted to have it all. He wanted to be God! That first sin in heaven started the separation between takers and givers. God gives us freedom of choice every day to decide if we want to be a taker or a giver. God’s love is unlimited and unconditional, that we are truly loved, right here, right now—just the way we are. God’s gift of Jesus’ life of serving, His death, and His resurrection secured our salvation and is what brings conviction and converts the heart from a taker to a giver.
Are you a giver or a taker? It’s your choice!
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Kathy Corwin writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.