Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “Christian Devotions & Quick Studies” along with 33 other articles and is available for purchase in Hardback, Paperback and eBook formats at this link: Jim’s Books
The primary purpose of this article is to point out some of the fundamental differences between givers and takers and hopefully persuade some believers to move from being a taker to a giver. I hope you will find the information helpful.
As recorded in the Bible in Genesis chapter 2, God created the first man, Adam, from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. That was good. God provided the Garden of Eden to Adam and gave him dominion over all of His creation. That was good. There was only one exception required of Adam by God … Adam should refrain from eating of the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God created and gave Eve as Adam’s wife and helpmate. That was good. Man’s fall into sin came about as a direct result of Eve’s (and Adam’s) disobedience in partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In this case, God “gave” the garden … and that was good; man “took” of that which God forbade … and that was bad … disastrous for both Adam and Eve and the future of all mankind yet to come. As Paul puts it in Romans 5:12 (KJV), “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
God is the ultimate “giver”, the greatest “Giver” of all time. He gave His son Jesus to the world to redeem mankind from the consequences of his sin. John 3:16 (KJV) states that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Accepting God’s free gift of salvation is not an act of “taking,” it is instead an act of “receiving” … receiving the gift freely given by Almighty Jehovah God. God gave His most cherished possession, Jesus, to stand in for us and take upon Himself the sins of all who would receive Him as Savior. Jesus paid the price for our sins. No one else could do that. What a giver!
The Bible records a number of examples of givers and takers. The list below provides just a few that came to mind. Perhaps you can think of others.
Givers Related Scriptures
God, Jesus John 3:16; John 10:18
The Widow who gave the mite Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4
Paul on Phoebe Romans 16:1–2
Abraham & Isaac Genesis 22:1-19
Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37
Onesiphorus 2 Timothy 1:16-18; 2 Timothy 4:19
Stephen Acts 6 and 7
Takers Related Scriptures
Satan John 10:10-11; 2 Cor. 10:3-5,
Judas – betrayal of Jesus Luke 21:37-22:6
Cain – kills his brother Abel Genesis 4
Rich Young Ruler Mark 10:17-22
Ananias & Sapphira – attempt to cheat church Acts 5
Diotrephes – unjust criticism and accusation 3 John 1:9-11
Absalom – conspiracy to take David’s kingdom 2 Samuel 15
Ahab and Jezebel – evil to the core 1 Kings 16-22
Givers and takers respond differently when presented with the same situation. Thomas F. Fischer, editor of MinistryHealth.net provides an exhaustive list of the differences between givers and takers. For example, when confronted with a need, Fischer says a taker would ask “Why should I help?” Whereas, the giver would ask “Why shouldn’t I help?” Fischer says givers seldom call attention to themselves, whereas takers are often braggarts. He also relates that givers invest in others and takers invest in themselves. You can find Fischer’s full listing of differences between givers and takers at this link: http://www.ministryhealth.net/mh_articles/239_101_plus_differences_givers_vs_takes.html
God wants believers to follow His lead and conduct their lives as givers … not takers. Genuine heart-felt giving is a direct reflection of God at work in the life of the believer. Givers provide energy and faith that can strengthen and transform the church. Takers consume and squash energy, often show a lack of faith and drive wedges into the unity of the church. Givers provide enthusiasm, trust their leaders and are willing to sacrifice. Takers exude pessimism, question their leaders and sacrifice little or nothing. Givers generously contribute their tithes and offerings to their church. Takers keep the vast majority of their resources to themselves. So which are you … a giver … or a taker?
In closing, I am reminded of Paul’s encouragement to those of the Colossian church recorded in Colossians 1:9-10 (NIV): “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”