Did you know that the word give is mentioned in 795 verses in the Bible. Give, as in the verb give. This word has exactly four subjects that can be attached to it:
- I give, we give, they give (the action of giving)
- You give (the act of giving OR a command to give)
I am thinking about this because I have been recently reminded that I have forgotten how to give. Giving is an odd action in a sense because it is not something that is triggered by something else, it is something that is decided by the giver. At least that is how I see it.
See, when you give it is because you want to give. Literally, there is no other reason that anyone can have for giving. It is as simple as that. If someone offers something is response to a stimulus or a condition that is met, that is not a gift but a payment or an earning. At the very least it is a return of the gift given, but in my opinion it is not a gift in that you did not think to give it on your own so much as you were prompted to offer based on someone else’s giving. Giving is something that someone does because they feel led to do it.
But he answered one of them and said, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?
– Matthew 20:13-15
When a person gives it is because they want to. Because it pleases them to give, it brings them joy to give. In fact, we have been given instruction to give cheerfully when giving as it pleases God:
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
–2 Corinthians 9:7
The hard part, I think, in all of this is that giving requires acts of selflessness, and taking ourselves out of the picture is a lot easier said than done. How can someone be expected to give when that someone has yet to receive? How can someone give in a cheerful manner when they are not cheerful? How can someone give of themselves when they feel like they have nothing in themselves to give of? How can someone repeatedly give when the recipient of the gift doesn’t take to the gift in a peaceful manner? The answer is easy yet painful… giving is not about you or the recipient but about the heart of giving. What you give and what is done with the gift is not nearly as important as showing someone that they mean enough to you for you to take yourself, your needs, your feeling and put them aside for a season to give of yourself. Personally, I could care less what the gift is if the giver is making a sacrifice to give. That means more to me than anything. And I suspect that it does for others as well.
Like I said earlier, I have forgotten how to give. I have allowed myself to become selfish instead of selfless. I have made it a point to take care of me more than taking care of those that I love. And it shows. In my marriage, my children, my work… everything. So I am resolving, primarily with my marriage as I see that being more important than anything else, to make giving a top priority. I am resolving to take myself out of the picture and give of myself. It is what I should be doing anyway, I suppose, and it is something that my wife desperately needs.