As we began a new message series last week, we learned that God is the source of all good things and that He calls us to be distributors of those same blessings in the lives of others. This week’s message lays the foundation for us to learn how to be that source of blessing. So…are you a giver or a taker?
God’s model to us is that of a great Giver. He gave us:
- An incredible creation which reveals His attributes
- The Law and prophets to represent his Truth
- His Son (His whole self)
- The Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us
- Infallible truths
- Instruction and modeling for our lives
God expects and calls us to be givers as He gives.
God expects and calls us to be givers as He gives. There is no place in the Bible (that Pastor Miles could find) that tells us to be takers, and yet many of us approach life--and even church--with a taker mentality. (Note that a receiver is different, as s/he takes things on the giver’s terms, where a taker takes things on his own terms.)
Think about how you feel, think, and behave as you come to church on any given Sunday. Do you come with the heart of a servant (a giver) or the heart of a master (a taker)?
You may have a “take” mentality if you are most concerned about having:
- No traffic coming in
- No waiting
- Your parking space
- Your seat
- Your preferred worship songs
- Your preferred speakers/pastor
- To hold on to your money
- To not be too challenged or ruffled from your own understanding
If takers don’t get these things, they are unhappy. They may even leave church because with this mindset, church is all about them and what they want.
- Whom do You want me to bring today?
- Where do You want me to park?
- What worship songs have You inspired for today to draw me closer to You?
- Which people around me to You want me to serve?
- How can I be in instrument to bring You glory today?
You cannot worship God or bless others with a “take” mentality. Only a giver is able to appreciate God for who He is and be readily available to do God’s will. As we read Genesis 13 and discover Abraham’s mentality and actions toward God, we can find ways in which God wants to bless us and have us bless others with a “give” mindset.
1. Give priority to the needs of others. Philippians 2:1-3, Matthew 22:37-40, Galatians 6:2, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Abraham gave up many things (his security, his family, his son, his tithes) to follow God’s calling in His life. With a giving mindset as he goes from Egypt, he steps aside for his nephew, Lot, to have first pick of the land:
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.” Genesis 13:8-9
We can take this “you first” perspective everywhere we go, from work to church to Starbucks. Whom can you bless? Whose need can you put over your wants? Love is a powerful thing! When you put the needs of others before your own, amazing things can happen.
- Give encouragement. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 6:2
- Give comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
- Give loving accountability. Proverbs 27:17
- Give apology. James 5:16-17
Give God’s promises unconditional trust. Genesis 15:6, Hebrews 13:8
And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17
As soon as Abraham and Lot are separated, God heaps His blessing on Abraham again by giving Him a promise. Abraham believes God’s promises and acts in faith.
Do not negotiate with God! If He wants you to serve, serve. Trust Him and he will get you what you need. He will fulfill His promises to you.
3. Give God the worship and praise He deserves. Psalm 100, 1 Peter 5:7
The next thing Abraham does is to worship God.
Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord. Genesis 13:18
The psalms tell us again and again to praise the Lord. When you sing to Him, tell Him how much you love and appreciate Him. Acknowledge what He has done for you and that He has given you everything you have.
Takers believe that they earned and deserve everything they have, but givers appreciate the very breath in their lungs. Praise is on their lips every day, acknowledging and trusting God’s plan when things don’t go their way.
Take some time today to evaluate yourself and your mentality. Are you a giver or a taker? Are you willing to learn, bend, and submit your heart and mind so that you can be a giver - a source of God’s blessings to others?