Whether you’d generally be classified as a “giver” or a “taker,” we all both give and receive, don’t we? Not just money or things, but the many intangible gifts that make up a life. Too often, I’ve been the wrong kind of receiver, and when I evaluate my status as a giver, I can see a direct correlation. Maybe you will, too.
Call it being detail-oriented, perfectionistic, or what have you: Being picky isn’t always a good thing. In our day of “wish lists” and “gift registries,” we can easily be tempted to be ungrateful for a gift that isn’t exactly what we had (or would have) picked out. Can this kind of thinking affect how we view God’s gifts to us? Absolutely!
Even though He promises persecution and trials (John 16:33), we somehow think we’ll be exempted from difficulty. Some of us have even dared tell God which types of trials we’d prefer.
In addition to undermining His sovereign, loving hand, this kind of receiver mindset will naturally lend to an overly picky giver concept. If we tithe, we’ll be sure to write that check to the exact amount, and not a penny more. We’ll argue over how much we really need to give or that we really need to give at all, considering our particular set of excuses — I mean, uh, circumstances. Consider: Are you overly particular?
We all know the type: She acts overjoyed about the smallest token of kindness. (The key word is “acts.”) It’s all for show, and everyone knows it. She wants to be seen as a positive person, a grateful receiver (even if she’s not). She probably also makes sure that anything she gives is big, loud, or otherwise obvious to those around her.
Like the Pharisees Jesus condemned, their primary concern is not their character, but their reputation (Matthew 6:14). Even when we fool those around us, God knows our true hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). Consider: Are you truly joyful, or outwardly pretending?
Truly gracious people are the best receivers and givers. While each small love token is appreciated, the truly grateful response need not be seen by others. No public accolades are needed; instead, sweet, life-giving words of thanks will be written and quietly delivered — for not only the gift, but the character of the person who gave.
For this person, giving can be comfortably done in private, accounting for God’s gracious gifts. The aching desire is to be able to give more, and the question of “how much is enough” is far from the gracious giver’s mind. Consider: Are you content to give and receive with the quiet generosity that reflects God’s grace?
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