(Photo: The Rock Church)
You've probably heard this from your mother – or maybe your grandmother: "It is better to give than to receive." But did you ever truly adopt that philosophy? Is your life defined by your "gives" or your "gets"?
I know a young couple who married after knowing each other for only one year. For six of the twelve months before the marriage, he was deployed overseas. It didn't take long for the rose-colored glasses to come off. Less than twelve months after sharing their vows, the mounting problems in their marriage seemed almost insurmountable. Suddenly, the person with whom he thought he had so much in common seemed so opposite and different.
It was not that either of them had drastically changed in the time since they'd met. But gone was the romantic love that had clouded their judgment during the first months of the relationship.
After living together for just over a year, they now marvel at all the ways they differ. He is social; she is reserved and shy. She is a morning person; he is a night owl. He loves to travel; she fears planes. He is tidy and organized; she is scattered and laid back. And the list goes on and on. They find themselves asking, "Why in the world did God bring together two people who are so obviously opposite?"
I believe God brings people and situations into our lives that will teach us the lessons needed to make us more like Him. In this case, I believe he intended to reveal the importance of serving others. A marriage of two opposites will only work when each person learns to serve the other – by denying self and putting the needs of the other person first.
Christianity calls us to constantly ask how we can be a source of blessing to others. God is the source of all good things and He calls us to be distributors of those blessings. Your blessings should not be a "dead end" but rather passed along to people around you.
God expects and calls us to be givers as He gives
Many of us approach life with a "What's in it for me?" or "What's my get?" mentality. Be intentional about denying your ego. At the beginning of each day ask God: Who do You want me to serve today? How can I be an instrument to bring You glory today?
You cannot worship God or bless others with a "take" mentality. Only a giver is able to appreciate God for who He is and be readily available to do God's will.
This "you first" rather than "me first" perspective is applicable everywhere, from home, to work, to church to Starbucks. Whom can you bless? Can you identify a need for someone else that you can prioritize over your "want"?
Love is a powerful thing. When you put the needs of your family members before your own, amazing things will happen. Here are some "gives" for your loved one:
• Give encouragement. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 6:2
• Give comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
• Give loving accountability. Proverbs 27:17
• Give apology. James 5:16-17
Takers believe they've earned and deserve everything they have, but givers appreciate every day above ground. Giving spirits keep praise on their lips, acknowledging and trusting God's plan by using their words and actions to lift up people around them.
Take a few minutes today to evaluate yourself and your mentality. Are you a giver or a taker? Do you actively pursue the "gives" or the "gets?" Make the conscious effort to learn, bend, and submit your heart and mind so that you can be a giver – a source of God's blessings to others.