I have identified three types of people. Most people fall into one of the following categories concerning their generosity:
I have also seen the effects of these particular lifestyles on the results people get in all areas of life. “The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others – ignoring God – harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.”xl
For the most part, people are neither takes nor givers, but keepers. I will describe these three types of people and you will decide where you fall in. Of course, these are generalizations and most people fall somewhere between two categories.
Takers: We all know at least a few takers. These are the people who are always “allowing” other people to do nice things for them, but are never available when someone else needs help. A good example of a taker is someone who gathers all of their friends together to help them move into a new apartment, but when one of those friends needs help they are too busy.
A great illustration of takers is the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The Pharaohs believed that their spirits would remain in their bodies after they died. They would then set out on their passage into the hereafter. Because of this belief, they expended large amounts of their kingdom’s resources to make sure their passage would be pleasant and safe.
Many of the Pharaohs began to establish their plans for this transition as their first priority upon taking the throne. They forced tens of thousands of their own people into years of harsh and grueling work so that they would be preserved.
Building pyramids was not easy. It is thought to have taken over twenty thousand workers about 80 years to build the Pyramids at Giza. The workers were required to move stones averaging 2.5 tons out of rock quarries and across the desert. This was all done without modern tools and equipment, of course.
The main purpose of the pyramids was to protect the Pharaoh’s body after death. The body itself was worked on for over two months with embalmers working to preserve it for burial. This was a further drain on the resources of the kingdom. Once finished, the mummified body was placed in an elaborately designed coffin and placed in the specially designed chamber of the pyramid.
Many historians believe that this massive use of resources was responsible for the decline and eventual failure of ancient Egypt. Spending on this overwhelming scale, of both money and other resources, left many Egyptians living in poverty and most likely destroyed the economy.
This was an ultimate act of selfishness so that the pharaoh could “preserve” himself regardless of the consequences it caused everyone else. This, of course, is a very extreme example, but many people today live only for themselves.
Keepers: The next group of people we are going to discuss are keepers. Just as the name suggests, they don’t take from others or society, but they don’t contribute anything either. Most keepers are neither stingy nor generous. They receive many things from others such as: information, faith, knowledge, money, and just about anything else you can imagine, but that’s just where it stops. They never realize that the blessings in life occur when they freely pass along that which they have received from others. These people never realize that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”xli
Most keepers probably don’t even realize what they are doing. Sadly, this is the category that most of society falls into. With all the pressures of the day, most people spend their time working; earning a living for themselves. They don’t have the ability to give of their time and talent; they are tired. When it comes to money, they are barely paying their bills; many times, ending up with more month at the end of their money. The same holds true for every other area of their life; they just can’t give. Of course, this belief is complete nonsense.
Many keepers are also what I like to call, “score keepers.” They pay very close attention to the generosity others extend to them and tend to repay the same amount of generosity back to those who give. Also, when they are generous with other people, they keep track of what they have already given, making sure they receive the same amount back.
The sad thing about keepers is that they just don’t understand or comprehend that in order to have more they must give more. Unlike takers, who are usually acting out of their own greed, selfishness and fear, keepers tend to misunderstand the laws of sowing and reaping. Many times these people want to do well, but they haven’t been shown how.
Givers: The last group of people is givers. These are the people who give without any thought of getting anything in return. They have discovered that true success comes from giving and helping. They understand that by giving away what they have, they will be given more. It is an upward cycle of generosity that leads to unimaginable contentment and success.
The most famous of all givers was Mother Teresa, who said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”xlii
We have all heard of Mother Teresa, but many of us don’t know the extent of her generous heart. She is the perfect example of a giver; something we should all strive for in our own lives.
Mother Teresa was the founder of the order of the Missionaries Of Charity. This is an organization dedicated to helping the poor and destitute of India.
She started this organization in 1948 after teaching at a school for the privileged for over 15 years.
In 1946, then Sister Teresa began sensing God’s call on her life, which was to give herself to caring for India’s poor. She moved to the slums and committed herself to the work that she was called to do.
With only small amounts of resources, little by little, she began to make a difference. Soon, others began to come to help her. Before long, schools were formed and medical care began being administered to the poor.
Throughout the years, her group was responsible for building a hospice, where the terminally ill could die with dignity. They opened centers that served the blind, the disabled and the elderly. They also built a leper colony.
By the time of her death in 1997, the organization she founded had grown to include operations in over 90 countries. There were over 4,000 nuns and hundreds of thousands of volunteers and other workers.
Mother Teresa understood these words: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”xliii
Michael at R2W
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