On Sunday Christians across the globe celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. We celebrated that Jesus overcame the power of death by making the ultimate sacrifice and with that sacrifice gave us the gift of eternal life with the father
Some days it is easy to forget His gift came at a tremendous price. Jesus was maliciously whipped raw, nailed to a cross, pierced by a spear, and humiliatingly murdered! Satan (the ultimate taker) thought he had a decisive victory at Calvary—which was the Son of God killed at the hands of those He loved lavishly (all humanity). Yet, Calvary is not a story of a taker's victory but of the ultimate givers triumph.
Here are 4 quick reasons why Christians need to focus on becoming a community of givers and not a community of takers.
1. Givers accomplish their vision without compromising their ethics
Society has trained us to win by any means necessary because at the end of the day—being a winner matters. Philosophically it’s called consequentialism—that if a goal is morally important enough (i.e. getting that raise, closing the big deal, getting your political candidate in office), any means used to attain it are excusable.
Jesus’ example is drastically different from this. He held unyielding faithfulness to the moral principles set forth in God’s word and he did this while finalizing God’s plans on earth. Jesus said, “I am the fulfillment of the law and prophets.” He was the perfect embodiment of God’s laws and the Kingdom of God that old testament Prophets spoke of. Jesus’s goal on earth, then, was to establish heaven on earth and in our hearts by embodying all of the promises and commands of scriptures—in every situation He faced and every encounter He had. Much like we do in our daily business affairs, Jesus had a strategy in mind for accomplishing His vision.
Where Jesus differs from us is He never ever wavered in His desire to accomplish His mission by righteous means. Jesus could have easily conquered through domination. Recall that He was literally offered the earth and all its treasures if He would abandon God the Father. An easy enough task for some of us. How often have we abandoned our morals for an easy win, a quick A on a test, an increase in salary, or an easy conversation with a neighbor? To win righteously was to give over His body, His relationships and His very life to God’s mandates. Kingdom followers can use Jesus as an example. One must be prepared to surrender our need to take the easier road and give over our life and our bodies to others and to God.
2. In the end, Takers never prosper
Jesus suffered. He was ridiculed, despised, and rejected by religious and political powers. On the verge of making the ultimate sacrifice those closest to Him abandoned Him to suffer alone. Though a perfect sinless man, he suffered because of the sins of others.
Because givers freely offer time, resources, and counsel to people, inevitably they open themselves up to being taken advantage of. When this happens, they will suffer. The suffering most often manifests from a break in relational trust such as a business deal gone bad, a community turning against you, or a friendship that has been abused. No one likes feeling used and no one likes having their good will manipulated.
Does that mean you should avoid suffering?
It is easy to live a life avoiding “suffering” and allow this to supersede any vision (or action) we may have for accomplishing all the God has in store for us. After all, you’ll never see our culture suggest that we should give ourselves over to help people freely. It’s every man for themselves and see who can get to the top of the pyramid of life the fastest. Our culture says every time you aren’t on TOP you are actually on the bottom. As though God’s intention for all of us is to live a life filled with winning and each blessing you don’t win—or that somebody else gets—is one you lost. But Jesus' example proved that giving over your life and in fact suffering itself exposes sin and flips the cultural narrative revealing christ’s truth: one life is worth all the suffering in the world and each person is priceless to God.
Jesus—the consummate giver—changed the world forever and for the better because He gave his life to forGIVE us our sins. And in doing that- he saved the world. His death and resurrection proves that givers have the ultimate and final victory in all spheres of life despite any suffering they may receive from the practices of takers.
If you suffer because of someone else’s actions there is a better future on the other side of your suffering that will bless you and others, now and in the future. A perfect example that comes to mind would be the Civil Rights movement. Had the black community not suffered in righteous resistance white takers would have remained emboldened to keep segregation alive. Scripture is clear that those who give shall receive an abundance in return. Don’t let the few takers in your life that take advantage of your kindness derail your vision for faithful greatness. Give as you would give to Jesus, he can refill your cup with more blessings than any taker in your life can take from you
3. Givers are builders--we build a network of relationships where relationships are the value rather than the transaction that can lead to gain.
Takers desire power, wealth, pleasure and winning at any cost. The cost of these pursuits is destruction, it’s death. A givers constitution is defined by genuine human interest, helpfulness, compassion, social justice, and altruism. A giver is a builder. We are faith builders and community builders. But just like you can’t build a house from air you can’t be a builder without materials. We give our time, knowledge, resources, and relationship away freely—with no hope of payback, no ledger of who has done what. Givers give regardless of a transaction that can lead to personal gain because we are building something bigger than our selves. This is what Jesus did over and over and over again.
Just how freely did Jesus give himself to establish relationship with us?
The bible says that the pre-existent Christ (who is God) emptied Himself in heaven and came down to earth taking on the form of a man. He did this incredible act of humility because He valued a relationship with people (humanity). The Westminster Confession of Faith VII.II says it this way:
The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
It's amazing to me that Jesus took on flesh and exposed himself to humanities "common infirmities" and yet remained, "without sin." He risked everything for people to have the chance at spending eternity with Him in Heaven. Almost as astonishing is that these people (you and me) could give Him absolutely nothing in return. That’s the essence of a giver. Givers put human relationship ahead of any transaction that could lead to gain.
In my life here are 2 examples of how I put relationships ahead of transactions that could lead to personal gain.
With my lacrosse club it is common for a few people to come to me and request a scholarship for their kid(s) or to break up their registration fee in to 2-3 payments. Because the heart of my company is finding great athletes and turning them into great lacrosse players I do whatever it takes to onboard athletes and keep them in our program. This opens my company up to being taken advantage of. A family could easily pay me one of two payments and then neglect my generosity by not paying me their second payment—in fact, this has happened. Do I like it? No! But I do this because the heart of my company is relationship—it’s developing kids. When parents show a lack of character, kids should not suffer.
The consulting I do with Kingdom Candidates introduces me to a ton of cool pastors and kingdom builders all over the country. One of the neatest things I was able to give freely to a church was when a Senior Pastor outside of California informed me his son, an elite U15 athlete, was playing soccer at the LA Galaxy Complex. Because this dad/pastor could not be at the game I gathered my kids and supported his son. I missed some time with my wife that weekend but I was so grateful to see another brick in the bridge Kingdom Candidates is building all over this country. We are one kingdom, supporting each other as we seek to give our time away in our own communities. It’s my dream to see our countries pastors united in our support for one another, across denominations, across state lines and politics. I am so blessed to be a part of Gods vision for the future.
4. Givers gain powerful advocates
The more I build a network of relationships where relationships are the value (rather than the transaction) the more I recognize that giving myself over to ministry, business, and helping others has given me amazing advocates. As a business owner, I can share that I have learned advocates are more powerful than any branding or marketing strategy and truly make your name known. I never set out to create brand advocates but my goodness have I been personally blessed by receiving them.
As I read the bible post-Easter I am encouraged to recognize that’s the model Jesus gives us. After his resurrection He showed himself to His disciples and said, “go be my advocates to others and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (my translation). Jesus’ disciples obligingly gave their life to His cause and became His advocates, all because He first showed himself to be a relational giver immensely in their favor.
I encourage you to give your time, expertise, and relationship away freely to people without any consideration of how it may come back to you.