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101-Plus Differences Between
Givers And Takers

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div, M.S.A.

Number 239

How can you tell the difference between "Givers" and "Takers"? Here's a simple listing.

Givers Takers
Why shouldn't I help? Why should I help?
Don't question motivations Ask "I wonder what they want?"
Ask, "How will this benefit others?" Ask, "What's in it for me?"
Releasing Controlling
Finds power and peace
in spiritual wisdom
Finds power and peace in externals and things
Willing to be servants Must be "lords"
Follows the flow with insight Appears "In control"
Rolls with the punches Easily overwhelmed
Love unconditionally "Love" conditionally
High capacity for pain Low capacity for pain
Bear pain silently and with patience Whiners
Seldom call attention to themselves Braggarts
Live confidently, day by day There's "always something..." to worry about
May be left "holding the bag" "Squeaky Clean"
Pick up after themselves Leave damage and behind in them
Sharers Collectors
What can I do for them? What's in it for me?
Invest in people Invest in selves
Willing to give virtually unlimited resources In need of virtually unlimited
attention and support
Dependable Dependent
No time table Time, schedules closely monitored
Flexible, open to sudden changes "Too busy"
No expectation of return Tit-for-tat
Simply give for the joy of it Pre-occupied with facade of "gratitude"
Help people change their own lives Change people's lives for their own ends
Committed to others Committed to self
Support Undermine
Energize Drain energies
Seek opportunities Seek personal comfort
Constructively critical Judgmentally critical
Do for themselves and others Do for themselves only what others won't do for them
Doesn't "use" others to a fault Manipulative
Releasing Controlling
Agenda is announced, overt, and
open to scrutiny
Cleverly hidden agenda
Trusting of leaders Distrust any and all leaders
Help unconditionally Help given until angered
Trusting, able to give the benefit
of a doubt
Suspicious, untrusting
Concerned with the essential
and important
Perfectionistic and controlling
Defensive/Supporting Offensive/Attacking
Can face and work through pain Fear of pain and suffering
Listeners Needy talkers
Flexible Live by schedules
Share comfort, confidence Share discomfort, fear
Gospel-Driven Legalistic
On spiritual pilgrimage Resist spiritual transformation
Worships God by giving life as a living sacrifice to God Worships God according to their own set procedure, schedules, and manner
Forgive, forget, and come back supportive Don't forgive unless they have to
Spontaneous, fun-loving Rigid, rule-enforcer
Willing to "break the rules" to show compassion Live, fight and die by "principles" and "rights"
Willingly give up their own agenda for others Will stop at nothing to get their way
Focus on becoming transformed for God's purposes Focus on conforming others to themselves
Concerned with the important Concerned with the urgent
Willing to pay the price for others' well-being Make others pay the price for their desires, needs, wants
Permeable boundaries Impermeable, rigid boundaries
Doers Whiners
Proactive Reactive
They come, assist, and when done, leave no
"silver bullet" behind
"Humbly" seek "deserved" attention, affection, reward and recognition for efforts
Willing to wash feet, take out trash,
do dirty work
Refuse to submit to demeaning tasks below their dignity
Focus on helping others achieve their goals Focused on titles, position
They can be ignored as long as people aren't hurt Always must make a point and be heard no matter what the cost
Help facilitate great healing Cause much pain
Patient Impatient
No shows Overly polite, mannerly
Help when others hurt Cause helpers hurt
Shed tears, feel deep grief when hurt Don't talk, trust or feel
Accept responsibility for their own behavior Mercilessly project responsibility and blame on others
Survivors Victims
Submit to God's will God is Aladdin's Lamp
Reality-based Fantasy-driven "If only..."
"Things" just aren't that important Materialistic
People are important My things are important
Internally driven by "grace" values Externally driven
Welfare-of-others conscious Status conscious
Expansive Territorial
Not appearance conscious (e.g. weight, height, clothes, figure, hair, coordination, flashiness) Hyper-conscious and hyper-sensitive to appearance
Attention tends to be deflected away Draw attention to themselves by things (jewelry, cars, homes, et al)
Do all they can to protect and
uphold their neighbor's welfare
Pre-occupied with comparing
others' wealth, benefits,
possessions to their own
Generous Covetous
Spenders Savers
Utilize all available resources "Squirrel" things
Maintain confidences,
appropriate communication
Gossip, innuendo, behind the back conversations are characteristic
No need for secrets Keep secrets
Give gifts freely Gifts have strings attached
Relationship unconditional Relationship is conditional
Want to reach out Don't want to get involved
Concerned Aloof
"I'll be there if you need me" "See ya!"
Willingly works even amid unfair treatment and conditions Always expects "something for nothing"
Will undergo humiliation and pain to assist others Avoid embarrassment and risk for others
Always growing "Stuck"
Encourages others growth Restricts others growth
Mistakes are the path to growth Condemns, punishes mistakes
Don't need to be asked Appreciate being asked and needed
Takes care of self and others "Take care of me"
Sensitive and genuinely empathetic to other's pain Insensitive to other's pain, needs
Is always there for friends, acquaintances, strangers, and even foes Resists reciprocation of support, sacrifice
Seeks reconciliation Seeks revenge
Seeks ways to provide help Helpless: "I can't do it by myself!"
Goes out of their way Just "too busy"
Performs well even under pressure Tendency toward overwhelm
If it's not yours, respect it "Take it and run"
Have learned the "secret" of contentment "Make me feel good!" (food, money, attention, sex, religion, et al)
Seeks constructive, positive means to achieve goals through genuine dialogue and constructive conflict Starts fights and perpetuates unrest but longs for "peace"
Always satisfied, but looking for new opportunities for growth Never content, but unwilling to seek growth opportunities
Future-Oriented Past-And-Immediate-Present Oriented
Words and promises have meanings Words and promises can't be trusted
Keeps promises "Intends" to keep promises
Direct Indirect
Cooperative Demanding
Sharing, Open Controlling
Calls for teamwork for benefit of others Call for "Teamwork" only for their benefit
Patient Impatient
Mature Immature
Sharing Selfish
Faith is a truly permeating
heart-and-soul reality
"Faith" is a shallow external facade
Approachable Unapproachable
Submits to God's will to be done High/unrealistic expectations of others to do things the right (i.e. "their") way
Love-driven Fear-driven
Release everything to God's plan If you can't control it, kill it!
What will be will be good What will be will be (fatalistic)
Gospel-Driven Law-Driven
Givers And Takers
 
Recognizing "Givers" and "Takers" can also make a remarkable difference in the world to the health of your church and your resulting style of leadership. Aside from the Holy Spirit's power working in proclamation of the Gospel,   selecting and encouraging "givers" to make a positive difference in your ministry may be the most important key to organizational momentum and renewal.
 
Givers are specifically blessed by their gifted-ness, energy, and faith to strengthen, build, and, with the power of God, transform the church. What makes givers so uniquely suited for this great task of renewal?

1) Givers provide and inject energy and enthusiasm.

2) Givers are positive thinkers with a vision for the future.

3) Givers have a capacity for risk, pain and enduring through the long haul.

4) Givers uphold, encourage and support others.

5) Givers trust leaders.

6) Givers are committed and accustomed to sacrifice, sometimes great sacrifice.

7) Givers are able to spot needs and fill them.

8) Givers require minimum support for maximum effectiveness.

9) Givers reciprocate trust and confidence.

10) Givers respect others and take relationships and people seriously.

There's a reason that the word "Givers" starts with a "G." Put a giver into ministry and you will feel "G"'s like never before!
 
Giver-Churches vs. Taker-Churches
 
Though the listing above is far from exhaustive, the greatest attribute of Christian givers is that they are a living incarnation of the greatest Giver, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "No man has greater love than this, than to give up his life for a friend." Jesus, the Grace-Giver, showed and gave us that greatest gift of undeserved love.
 
Called by Christ's grace in His Word and through Baptism, we are called to be "givers," sacrificers, lovers, forgivers...Christians. Churches blessed with givers rejoice in the Gospel, the growth of the church, and the one-by-one individual transformation of faith and servanthood which Jesus' gift of grace works in them.
 
On the other hand, churches dominated by takers may have all but snuffed out and smothered the presence of grace and the life-changing power of God in their presence. Conflict, infighting, subtle innuendo, distrust, and an on-going, chronic tendency toward ecclesiastical reductionism become nearly impossible for the preacher or any other leader to change.

A Warning To Givers Regarding Takers

Perhaps one of the greatest disappointments is falling into a "taker"'s trap. The giver, seeing the taker's need, may cheerfully intervene. Very subtley a relationship between giver and taker can develop. Over time, the taker may become dependent on the giver's actions. The giver, enjoying the blessing of giving, may cross the line of giving into enjoyment.
 
It is when the giver enjoys giving too much that the danger arises. Ironically, the more the giver gives, the greater the disappointment the giver will receive. No matter how much counseling, intervention, help, support and teamwork one offers to the "nice" taker, the taker will eventually and inevitably reject the giver once the givers gift is no longer wanted, needed, or deemed important.
 
Givers Can Be Taken
 
The "giver," bewildered, angered, confused, betrayed, and left "holding the bag," will feel they did something terribly wrong. Being givers, their first response is to look at what they gave. "Maybe I didn't give enough!" "Maybe I didn't give it right!" are just two of the main engines which propel the guilt of a "giver" taken by a "taker." 
 
Using their own frame of reference of their willingness and repeated success at forgiving and reconciling, "givers" can hardly imagine just how great their unknown offense was that caused such a sudden, cold, irreversible, and unexpected "throw-away" response.
 
The toughest thing for the giver to accept is simply that they've been taken. Often the best thing the giver can hope for us simply to understand, forgive, move on, and be more careful next time. The worst thing is to allow the "taker"'s action to destroy the giver's self-esteem. Remember, the "taker" is a "taker!" That's what "takers" do...they take everything including your self-esteem, your confidence, and your joy of receiving Christ's forgiveness.
 
The Vintage "Taker"
 
The "taker" on the other hand, generally will not reconcile. They'll avoid it, resist it, and distance themselves in any way possible to avoid it. To them, there's no need to reconcile, become accountable, etc. After all, they have taken all they want. Besides, if they were to reconcile, they would have to change into a "giver." "Taker"'s know it's so much easier, convenient, and less threatening to just find another "giver." There are, as any "taker" would admit, plenty of "givers" out there.
 
"Taker"'s can take all kinds of forms: disgruntled staff, pastors who resign or take a call in disgust at a congregation's dealings with them, leaders who betray others including the pastor, influential members who rebel against leadership, individuals who cry "unfair" or whine about being "victimized," members who suddenly join in on the tirade of rebellion against the church and leave for another congregation, et al.
 
The Most Important Thing About Givers
 
It is no surprise that the message of the Gospel is, in one sense, a message of converting "takers" into "givers." That hints at the most important thing about genuine Christian "givers." To paraphrase the Apostle John's epistolary words, "They give because He first gave to them." True, heart-felt giving is a reflection of the greatest Giver. The grace received is what "givers" pass on...from "grace to grace."
 
Living in the keen awareness of the Gift, they recognize how destructive legalism is. Givers know joy from the gift in Christ. Giving that joy to others perpetuates the experience of God's gift of joy in them. This continued practice of given and received grace is what helps them be so consistent, so supportive, so grace-driven in all their doings for Jesus Christ.
 
What Kind Of Givers?
 
The Givers vs. Takers distinction, however, is not so simple. Motivations for giving and taking are also an important consideration. One might ask, "Why do givers give?" By the same token one might also ask, "Why do takers take?"
 
The simplest way to answer this question is via the Johari window.
 

Givers
Vs.
Takers

Why They Do It

To Give

To Take

What They Do

Give

#1 #2

Take

#3 #4
.
As this illustration demonstrates, not everyone gives or takes for the same reason. Instead, there are four basic combinations of "giver" and "taker" variables.
#1 Givers Who Give: The most altruistic of the four possibilities, givers who give are generous to a fault. No matter what they do, they just can't be paid back. Their value system, their faith, and their inclination is such that whatever they have they just want to give as freely, frequently and sacrificially as they can. It is what gives them joy.
 
#2 Givers Who Take: These include those who give for selfish reasons. They give to get. Whenever they give, they have strings attached. At first, recipients of their gifts, services, etc.  may be enthralled, surprised, shocked or bewildered. But it doesn't take too long to see that the giving had a price tag attached. Often this can be a hideous, hypocritical sham of generosity. Their joy is not in giving. It is in controlling through often well-executed "bribes."
 
#3 Takers Who Give: This kind of taker is direct, appreciative and accepting of gifts, appreciation, honors, recognition, power, etc. They feel deserving of gifts, wages, bonuses and benefits. They will even fight tooth and nail to preserve their rights to receive what they have rightfully earned. However, once the rewards are in their possession, they give freely as #1's with no strings attached.
 
#4 Takers Who Take: This simply describes one as self-centered as #2, but who really cares very little (if at all) about anyone else's welfare, needs, etc. Taking all they can get, they hoard possessions, wages, services, et al. Of course, the more that is hoarded, the better it can be hidden behind a facade of very nice homes, cars, dress, jewelry, and other impressive titles, etc.
 
Insatiably driven to take more, the most sophisticated #4's seek and use anyone by any means possible to gain what they want. The more powerful and controlling they become, the more taking they do and the more people get taken and destroyed. Unfortunately in the Church, the more powerful they become they greater the facade they need to hide their "taking" agenda.
Of course, the greater the degree to which one's final objective is to take or give, one can expect greater use of taking or giving behaviors. Taking behaviors will also be characterized by a greater use of power plays or other controlling behaviors including intimidation, interrogation, poor-me, and/or aloof-ness. For more information see. Ministry Health article #153 "Forty-Two Power Plays" and #63 "Four Types of Manipulators").
 
The Gospel Converts Takers
 
The best prescription for transforming a "taking" individual church is simple: preach the Gospel. It sounds simple. Given their resistance, it is not as easy as it may sound. It's something that only God can accomplish.
 
Original sin is evidenced by the propensity of human nature to be a "taker." Human nature is full of those who cry "Gimme, gimme, gimme!" Takers, dominated by the Law use legalism, perfectionism, and judgmentalism to motivate givers. Givers, unawares of the boundary issues and Paul's prescription in Galatians 6:2-5 to help others so that they can carry their own burden, are easy prey.
 
Too often, pastors themselves are "takers." Thus they have difficulty doing anything less but preach from the security and comfort of their "taker" zone. From the disingenuous television evangelist to the defiant denominational leader, to the pastor who refuses to be unaccountable for impropriety, no one is immune. No matter how much we give, there is still a "taker" in all of us.
 
Givers Have New Life
 
The foremost calling for every Christian, especially pastors, is to proclaim the Giver whose greatest gift was taking away sin, guilt and the judgment of God. By taking this from us on the cross, He gave us a new life, a new nature, a new reason to live: to give as He has given to us. 
 
Having received the fullness of grace, the believer experiences the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work of killing the "taker" and resurrecting a "giver." This new life is nothing less than faith. No, one does not give to "get" salvation. That's what "takers" do. Instead, the response of the grace-regenerated giver is an unmistakably joyous, free "giving." This desire to give hilariously is one of faith's most evident fruits. It is also one of the greatest sources of Christian joy.
 
Givers: The Most Obvious Proof
 
Are you a "giver" or "taker?" The familiar words of Paul to the Corinthians comes to mind.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion [as a "taker" does], for God loves a cheerful giver."
(II Corinthians 9:7 NIV emphasis added)

Are you a "giver" or a "taker"? Do the "takers" get you down? Have they taken everything you have to give? Is the recovery from the hurt difficult? It is painful. It is heart-wrenching. But take note and learn. But don't let the takers take away your most priceless and valuable asset: your joy of giving to others the joy that Christ gave so freely and generously to you.
 
After all, that's what God loves best about you. You know Jesus. You know His love. You have experienced the reality of the Great Giver in your life. That is why you are in ministry: to give...as Christ gave.
 
Your calling--and greatest joy--is realized in your cheerful, hilarious, uncontrollable passion to give to others--givers and takers--in the same healthy manner and conviction of grace that He has given to you in Christ. But even if you're an outright taker He still loves you. He's simply the most "reckless," undiscriminating and unconditional Giver we could have.
 
Take the gift He gives! Enjoy it! Cherish it! Bask in its joy! Now go out there, be a grace-giver--to givers and takers alike--and give them the greatest Gift, Jesus Christ.
 
Thomas F. Fischer

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 Articles 200-249    Articles 250-299   Articles 300-349   Articles 350-399 

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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:01 PM