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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, January 2, 2012

Givers & Takers


     (Luke 17:17 KJV) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed but where are the nine?

     Being grateful should be the natural response for anyone after having received a blessing. However, that is not always the case because many walk away and never say a word when they receive a gift. One may ask, “If you truly give something away then why do you have to be thanked for it…isn’t the joy of giving thanks enough?”

      In the case of our text I do not believe the point that Jesus was trying to make was necessarily that He be thanked. I believe He was simply showing us what an ungrateful heart really looks like.

     The fact is, ungratefulness is rooted in selfishness and selfishness is rooted in self preservation and self preservation is rooted in mistrust and mistrust is rooted in jealousy. In other words…I want what you have because I deserve it more than you do. All of this can be summed up in the word “ungrateful.”

      It seems as though folks in this present generation are less grateful
      than folks were in my generation. Perhaps some of that could be caused
      by overindulgent parents.

     In our text, Jesus had just healed ten lepers, but only one came back to thank Him. This is a clear picture (at least to me) of the two categories that people seem to fall into, “givers and takers.”

     Being a “taker” does not necessarily mean that one is a bad person…they are just self centered. A taker expects you to give them your time, but rarely do they want to give you their time.

     My wife is the most generous person I know. She is always ready to sacrifice her time and money at any hour of the day or night. She is a classic giver. I remember at one point in time she had a friend who was a classic taker. A classic taker can spot a classic giver across the room...just like a lion can spot its prey. As a result, my wife became a life support for this lady, praying for her night and day, as well as giving her groceries.

     There was a time when this lady was wealthy, and she is probably wealthy again. However, when she got back on her feet she dropped the friendship with my wife and went on to bigger and better things...as typical takers do. A typical taker is always one who is climbing up the ladder.

     My wife’s friend was like the “healed leapers” who took from Jesus, but did not go back and thank Him for their healing. Being a taker is a character flaw that the person does not want to be healed of—because it is their way of controlling another person. They may even be born again, but they miss out on the character of Jesus.

     The statement I am about to make is certainly not an absolute for all of the poor or the rich, because I personally know many exceptions to this statement. However, it does seem that the wealthy expect favor and the poor believe they deserve favor, which means it is hard for one to gain ground with takers such as these.

     Maybe all of us have more of a takers spirit in us than we realize. Do we
     show our un-thankfulness much like the nine leapers?

    Father,
    It is far to easy for us to see the wrong in the nine leapers and criticize them.
    Help us Lord not to make the same mistake and cause others to criticize us.
    Perhaps there are times that all of us are guilty of walking away and not
    showing a grateful heart for Your presence in a church service or having a
    prayer answered after having cried out to You.
    Amen

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