Givers and Takers: The Heart of the Matter

GiversAndTakers

Our church is in the middle of a series of talks I’ve entitled “No More Tombs”. We’re basically reflecting on the resurrection of Jesus to recognize that when Jesus walked out of the tomb, he invited us to walk of the tomb with Him.
We still live in tombs, though.
We’ve let our relationships, our time, and our finances become tombs, so that while Jesus invites us to life, we too often choose death.
One of the subtlest, but most significant, tombs that we build is in the area of our finances. God has a plan to bring life to our finances, but we create our own plan and our own plan will always lead to death.
God’s plan is quite simple: that we be givers, not takers.
I thought I’d take a few days and share some of the important differences between givers and takers, because it’s so important that we understand God’s heart in this.
God wants something for you, not from you. And so do I.

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“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” –Jesus (Matthew 6:21)
There’s nothing that affects your heart more than being a giver.
Where we choose to allocate our treasure will have a significant impact on the trajectory of the affection and attention of our lives.
The simple choice of where to allocate our treasure is a lot like the planting of seeds. The seed may start very small, but over time it will grow and produce fruit. Where we give our time, talent, and treasure may seem like small decisions right now, but over time the collective decisions we make have huge implications.
If we sow seeds in the right place, it will bring life to our hearts and to the rest of our lives. However, if sow seeds in the wrong places, in sinful ways, it can produce only death and destruction. (Galatians 6:7-9)
God’s plan for our finances is simply this: we be givers and not takers.
Think about that for a moment: givers… not takers.
Why would God, over and over and over again through scripture redirect us towards being givers?
Why would the God who owns everything and needs nothing ask us to give?
It’s simple… because it has profound affect on our hearts.
So does being a taker.
As much as being a giver aligns our heart with God’s heart, being a taker aligns our heart with our own plans and schemes, which are always going to blow up and end in death.
Takers are always asking the question: “What do I get out of it?”
What happens when we ask that question? Our perspective shifts and is solely focused on ourselves. There’s no concern for others. Ultimately… no consideration of Jesus.
I was riding down the road with my friend Dan the Banker a few years ago talking about Jesus. Dan lends people lots of money, and he’s pretty good at it. He likes to talk to me about Jesus, but he’s not sure about the claims of Christians about Jesus. He unsure of Jesus, be he sure does enjoy making fun of me. But… you know… who doesn’t?
So Dan and I were talking about Jesus in the light of other religions of the world. I told him that the significant difference in the claim of Christianity is that it is remarkably selfless.
Let’s face it: karma is self-centered. Do good and good will happen to you. Do bad and bad will happen to you.  Most of our world religions are built on this principle.
But Jesus… He’s the opposite of karma. Get it perfect and the world will kill you.
After a moment of silence my friend Dan the Banker says: “I guess Jesus going to the cross to carry the sins of the world is probably the most selfless thing ever in human history.”
Yeah. You get it.
And that’s what being a giver is all about, letting the selfless heart of God become our heart.
We all know John 3:16. You know it says we can have eternal life through Jesus. But revisit that verse…
“God gave his one and only son…”
God gave. That’s how this story started, and it’s quite possibly where our story starts too.
What if we started giving without concerns about what we’ll get?
What if we started giving to God’s kingdom generously and joyfully?
What would happen to our hearts?
And… how could that bring new life into your old bones?
 

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