Would Dr. Phil call you a Taker, or a Giver?
a stewardship reflection by Richard Cabes
Do you remember, Dr. Phil, who used to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show? One of Dr. Phil’s early catch phrases was to ask his guests – “Are you a giver, or a taker?” If he were to ask us the same question about our involvement at church, what would we say? Am I a Giver, or just a really nice Taker? Being a Giver means having gratitude for what we have already been given, and sharing it with others.
It is not human nature to be a Giver; rather it is instinctual to take more than we give. Jesus understood this in dealing with the ten lepers in Luke’s gospel, and even the larger church understands that being a Taker is a weakness of the human condition. In our Book of Common Prayer, the section for Prayers and Thanksgiving contains 72 prayers for Asking and Taking, and only 11 prayers to say, “Thank You, God, we are grateful.” Jesus challenges us to stop, to listen, to pray, and show our gratitude for what we already have.
We live in a society of Takers, and so we must always be on guard to protect what is valuable to us – whether it be our house, our children, or even our church. Could our church really be taken from us? Imagine if the vestry was forced to sell off the fields, school and parish hall to a private group? What if the locks were changed on the office building and all staff were let go? No more office hours, no more bulletins, no more Sunday School, no more weekly events. How would you feel if these things were taken from you? How much would you be willing to pay to keep it all in place? What is important to you here at St. Martins? What is it that calls you here? Now ask yourself, what are you doing to support that? Based on your answer, would Dr. Phil call you a Taker, or a Giver?