ICFE eNEWS #16-41 - November 30th 2016
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"Giving" and "receiving" are two words that will be used a lot during
the upcoming holiday season. In a way, they seem to summarize the
emphases of these special holidays.
It occurred to me recently that these two words are not only used to characterize the holiday season, they are used to characterize people. Over the course of time, most people become known for either their giving or their receiving.
Would you pause and think about these two traits with me for a few minutes? In my opinion, these three observations seem to be valid about giving and receiving: (1) Neither trait is genetic. In other words, we do not inherit either characteristic at birth; (2) Both traits are "learned" traits. We come to appreciate their value by observing someone's example or experiencing it ourselves; and (3) The trait we choose to practice most often is directly related to how we perceive our purpose in life and how we perceive the reward gained from each experience.
Is it just me, or does it seem to you, too, that our society is promoting and producing a greater number of receivers than it used to? Voices from the classroom, from the media, from Hollywood, and from the political arena are all telling our young people, "You are entitled! You deserve to have success, status, and stuff! It is owed to you!"
The result of this constant promotion of "self" is a generation of individuals who are focused on "What can I get?" instead of "What can I give?"
I saw society changing during the 30 years I served as a Senior Pastor. Early on in my ministry, people would enter the church, roll up their sleeves, and ask, "What can we do for you?" Later on, most people entered the church asking, "What can you do for me?" The attitude was shifting from serving to being served; from being a servant, to having servants.
I heard about a man who visited a friend and found him to be somewhat sad and discouraged. The man said to his friend, "You seem sad today. Didn't your great aunt die a few months back and leave you a $15,000 inheritance?" "That is correct," responded the discouraged friend. "And didn't just last month you win that drawing for a brand new car?" "That is correct, too," replied the friend. "So, why so gloomy today? It looks like things have really been going your way lately?"
The friend responded, "Why so gloomy? I'll tell you why. It is already the 25th of the month and nothing good has happened yet!"
I remember also a missionary friend sharing with me how his family delivered a whole carload of groceries to a poor family with eight children. He explained how the father watched from the window as the missionaries carried bag after bag of food into the house.
As the last bag of groceries was placed on the kitchen table, and the missionary family walked toward their car to leave, the father called out to them, "I hope you'll remember that this won't last us all month!"
Those who choose to be receivers instead of givers do so because they have concluded there is more reward in receiving than giving. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. A greater pleasure, a great peace, and a greater prize await those who focus on giving of themselves.
Jesus tried to instill this truth in His followers, "The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Matthew 23:11-15)
The very next time you see the bell-ringer by the little red kettle, would you let it remind you of this true story about the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth.
It is told that he had been scheduled to make a very important speech to his co-workers concerning having passion for their work. He became violently ill and could not keep the engagement, but in his absence, sent a telegram to be read to the hundreds who gathered.
A hush spread over the audience as the telegram from General Booth was read. His message was clear. It contained only one word, "Others!"
That, my friend will be a daily choice for us. To serve others and be a giver, or to be served by others and be a receiver.
I want to choose to be a giver. How about you?
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
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