Givers or Takers?

Recently, I, along with some other pastors, had a chance to have lunch with Bill Purvis, the pastor of Cascade Hills Church in Columbus, GA. Bill has tons of leadership wisdom. He spoke with us on a number of topics and we had the chance to ask him a bunch of stuff. It was a blessing to sit down and glean from this guy.

One of the things Bill does is he Tweets regularly, little leadership nuggets. One of the things he did with us was to share the top 10 tweets he had that had been retweeted. (If you don’t understand Twitter language, none of that makes sense.) Follow me on Twitter HERE and you can get the idea. It’s kinda like facebook statuses updated in 140 characters or less.

Anyway, enough on how Twitter works. One of Bill’s top 10 “tweets” was this:

Givers always have more than enough; takers never have enough. (Malachi 3:10)

Giving is all about attitude. I must say that at times in my life I have found myself being more of a taker than a giver. I can get in a mode of never having enough. Always “needing” something more. Yet when I give, I find my attitude focused so much on others that it becomes difficult to focus on what I don’t have. The reason being that an attitude of generosity brings blessing back to me from God. His grace becomes enough. His blessing begins to flow through me to others. I become less prideful, less selfish. I realize that I have all I need and if I don’t have it, I must not need it. (Matthew 6:33)

I see this principle come true not just in finances. That is the most glaring example. Yet it can be true in our approach to the church and to serving God and others.Some come into a church looking for what it, “the organization”, can do for them. This is particularly true, sadly, of Christians who have bought into a “consumer” mentality of the Church. It is here to meet my needs. Now, the church should care for one another. However, the Church…that’s us by the way, not the institution or organization…should be about accomplishing the mission God gave us. Therefore, meeting the needs of people with the purpose of reaching them with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and for the purpose of glorifying and serving God. I am also giving and serving God and His Church out of gratitude for what He’s done for me. Look at the way Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 9:

11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

Givers always have enough, but takers are always looking for more. More programs for ME, more things the church and the pastors can do to meet MY needs. When they don’t get that, they tend to move on to other places where they can have someone give them more. They will never be satisfied, maybe because deep down inside, they honestly are…takers, not givers.

We see this in our society as a whole. People who want to TAKE from the government…or TAKE from those who have. The entitlement mentality is another way this is manifested in the culture. It has bled into the church. The “what have you done for me lately” attitude will kill the church’s mission and will kill a free society too, I’m afraid; b ecause we will always be focused on ourselves, our needs, our own power and control.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas upon us, I want to thank all of you folks at The Ridge…and other churches…who GIVE your time, your talents, your efforts, your energy, for the mission of The Church and in gratitude for what Christ has done for us. I love our volunteers here. I love that fact that these people do what they do every week…faithfully serving…so that others can come to know the Hope of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for those who faithfully GIVE financially to support what God is doing…and going to do! God provides through His people who are obedient to His Word and He blesses them accordingly (Malachi 3:10).

I am grateful for the GIVERS. You will always have enough. I pray for the TAKERS…of whom I have been one…that you will come to understand the joy and blessing that the Father has for you when you change your perspective. May we become givers this season…for His glory!

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