Archive for September, 2010
The world is made up of two kinds of people: givers and takers. This manifests itself in various ways. Watch the people where you work. There are those there to get a paycheck and those there to work. You see it in family reunions where some do all the work, and others expect it to be done. Some people go out of their way to help others, while some just assume everyone exists to help them. I see it in grocery stores and while driving. Givers and takers.
The problem with takers is that they can never be satisfied. They want everything to be done the way they want it done, when they want it done. They let you know about it when those expectations are not met. They are so accustomed to getting things their way that they fail to even appreciate what is done for them. Takers rarely think about what they can do for others. When they do give, they expect thanks and recognition. They take even when they try to give.
Givers have a difficult time asking for help, even when they need it. They even have trouble accepting help. It is very easy for a giver to be over-extended, exhausted, and burned out. Who takes care of the caregiver?
So let me speak about Jesus and givers and takers. If you are a giver, but have never become a Christian … I have great news for you. Christianity is the home of givers. We take care of each other. We meet our needs together. We follow the ultimate giver. But our giving comes only after we receive the one gift we can never repay. Jesus gives life eternal. He gives the one thing we cannot provide for ourselves. When you choose Jesus, you then enter into community with those who have pledged to deny their self in order to follow the great giver.
If you are a taker, you need to know there is a different way to live. There is a life of purpose and joy that you may have never experienced. Jesus is the one answer to every need of your life. He calls you to receive his gift and transform your life from selfishness to selflessness. So in Christ, we learn to take what we need, and give what we have.
In 1855, at the age of 43, an English man penned the question: “ Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?”
Robert Browning, a major poet of the Victorian Age and husband of equally famous poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and considered a “hottie” of the time, framed the query in his Andrea Del Sarto, “The Faultless Painter”. In dramatic style, the concept is formed that humans strive for things seemingly unattainable. Yet they still reach, struggle, stretch in hope of acquiring that which they desire.
One hundred and fifty five years later you and I are no different, except that we accept the flimsy instead of the real. We grasp for fame, fortune, wannabeism, fashions of the moment and chose not to aspire for the things that are eternally important and significant.
So what are you reaching for? Once you attain it, will it really be worthwhile? Where is God in your life or is He?
I’ve been friended on Facebook, followed on Twitter and connected on LinkedIn. I get texts and e-mails, comments and tweets. I’ve been searched for and requested. I’ve been recommended and suggested. I even get letters in envelopes now and again.
I’ve got a phone at my house and one at my office. I’ve got a cell phone that goes just about everywhere I go. I can use my computer to talk with people as well.
We have so many ways to stay connected today. Yet more people every day find themselves alone and isolated. When it comes time to share the things that matter, they can’t seem to find anyone that wants to listen.
There are plenty of people with whom we can talk about politics or sports. Our old friends love remembering our school days and the things we did way back when. But when it comes time to open our heart, where can we go?
Let me suggest that you look to God. Let me use some words from Psalm 139 to help me explain why:
“O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.” (Psalms 139:1-4)
God knows me and understands me. He knows what I want to say even when I don’t know how to say it.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day,
For darkness is as light to you.” (Psalms 139:7-12)
No matter where I am, I don’t have to be alone. God is there. Distance means nothing to Him. Darkness isn’t a problem. God is always there for me.
“For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalms 139:13-16)
I don’t have to worry about how I look. I don’t have to lose weight to please God. I don’t have to wear the right clothes nor have the right hairstyle. God knows me better than I know myself.
God understands me. He is always with me. And He loves me just as I am. I may not find Him on Facebook nor follow Him on Twitter. But I can have a relationship with Him that goes beyond what I can have with anyone here on earth.
We decided that we had to something about the hogs at our family farm. They were costing us significant dollars by eating up much of our crop. The damage they can do in one night is incredible. Just crossing the field damaged our crops. We knew it would only get worse. A few hogs today will become a few hundred tomorrow.
Getting rid of them was harder than we thought. We tried hunting them at night, but that made no significant reduction in their number. Nor did it keep them away. We tried traps, but that did not stop them. Since we could not seem to get rid of them, we decided to try to keep them out of the fields. We put up a fence. Then we repaired that fence. Then we tried a stronger fence. Didn’t help.
Finally, we paid to have a custom hog fence installed around the entire field. It was not cheap. It took quite a bit of time and effort. So why go to all that expense and effort? Because that’s what it took to get rid of the hogs! It had gotten to the point where we had to do whatever it took. Or quit farming.
I sometimes visit with people who express a desire to have a relationship with Jesus. They will even talk about some of the things they have tried to make it happen. I assure them that the relationship they want is possible, and it will be better than they ever imagined. But it is costly. In fact, God and Jesus paid an incredible price to make it possible. And they ask for your life in return. So why go to all that effort? Because that’s what it will take to have that relationship. So the question is: how badly do want a relationship with Jesus?