GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
Givers and Takers
By Keith L. Estes
Every Child Needs the Fulfillment of Being a Giver
By virtue of their needs children begin life as "takers." They are totally dependent on their parents for survival. In the process of training and maturing, it is important for a child to experience the joy and fulfillment of being a giver rather than a taker. The motivation of being a giver will influence every other attitude and action of the child and to a large extent determine the harmony and success of his future relationships.
What Are The Motivations Of A Giver And Taker?
There are two basic motivations that every person has: a desire for gain and a fear of loss. The stronger of these is usually a fear of loss. God has placed these two motivations within every heart since the ultimate gain is heaven and the ultimate loss is hell.
When a child is told by his parents to do something, he will instinctively reason, "What will I gain if I do it, what will I lose if I do not?" The gain or loss of his parents' approval is usually sufficient motivation. However, when possible it is wise to explain the gain or loss in the very request itself, e.g. "How would you like to demonstrate gratefulness for the meal your mother made by helping with the dishes?" vs. "Dry the dishes."
What Are The Three Levels Of Giving And Taking?
There are three levels of these two motivations. The first is a selfish level: "What do I gain if I do it? What do I lose if I do not?" The second level is more mature: "How will others gain if I do it or lose if I do not?" The third level is the highest: "How will God's kingdom gain if I do it, or lose if I do not do it?" It is on these second and third levels that the words of Jesus Christ apply: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35)
How Does A Taker Become a Giver?
God is love and love requires giving. The well-known text in John 3:16 states, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son..." A true spirit of unselfish giving begins when a child receives the forgiveness of sin that was won by Jesus Christ's death on the cross and eternal life that God offers to each person who becomes His child through faith in Christ.
How Does Being a Giver Relate to Achievement and Success?
God's life within a person gives him the ability to overcome selfish motives and to give with a true spirit of love, which is expressed in sacrificial generosity. It is on this level that a child can comprehend and experience the greatness that comes through serving. History is filled with the accounts of great men and women who unselfishly sacrificed in order to benefit the lives of others. Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13)
The truest expression of sacrificial serving involves giving to the basic needs of others but doing it in such a way that leaders get the credit and God gets the glory. This is the spirit of Christ's teaching to His disciples. "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and the Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly" (Matthew 6:2-4)
Ref. The Advanced Training Institute International- a comprehensive course in effective counseling. Box 1, Oak Brook, Ill. 60522. Used by permission.