“The principle of give and take; that is diplomacy – give one and take ten.”Mark Twain
Sad but true, we all tend to categorize others, and even ourselves, as a giver or a taker. Both result from intentional and/or unintentional motivations that come into play in our daily relationships.
We may admire givers over takers, but, as Mark Twain suggests, even if we aspire to be givers, all of us likely are well-practiced at each.
In his book, “Give and Take; A Revolutionary Approach to Success,” Adam Grant adds a group he calls “matchers” – those who practice reciprocity and seek to balance giving and taking by pursuing the principle of fairness. Mutual concessions and compromises build healthy and helpful human relationships.
The Bible teaches that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and that “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving” (Acts 20:35). When God is added to our human relations equation, a higher and greater dimension changes everything – especially our inspiration for giving thanks!
A few weeks ago, I met for breakfast with a friend who was carrying one of the largest books I’ve ever seen when he came to the table. Fanning through the 711 pages, not counting the 40-page index, I asked, “Have you read this whole book – all of it?” He said, “Yes, and now it’s yours.”
When I got home, I began to read “Providence” by John Piper, retired pastor and teacher at Bethlehem Baptist Church in downtown Minneapolis, and I couldn’t put it down. My friend perfectly timed this gift to me, and Pastor Piper gave perfect preparation of my heart this Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is defined by gratitude for the divine providence of God. Piper invites us to see a “God entranced world” every time we look at a tree or flower, or bird. God sees to it that the field is ripe for the abundant harvest and that we are remembering not to forget that seed and soil brought life to stalks and leaves, tassels and ears aplenty! Clouds brought rains to water every plant and the sun to rise each day of the growing season. This is divine providence that moves us to give thanks this season.
But there is more to God’s “all-embracing, all-pervasive providence.” Every morning God paints a different sunrise, never tiring of doing it again and again.
But no, God doesn’t do it again and again. God never stops doing it. The sun is always rising somewhere in the world. God is guiding the sun 24 hours every day and painting sunrises at every moment, century after century, without one second of respite, and never growing weary or less thrilled with the work of his hands.
And that is divine providence enough to cause our Thanksgiving!
No wonder the Psalmist said, “The heavens are declaring the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1).
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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