It’s not what you got but what you give?

Christian #1 goes to church looking for what he can get. Christian #2 goes to church looking for what he can give. Which Christian is most spiritual? Maybe neither.

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Get&GiveFor I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;  that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine. Rom 1:11-12 {NAS}

Christian #1 goes to church looking for what he can get.

Christian #2 goes to church looking for what he can give.

Which Christian is most spiritual?

Maybe neither.

If Paul can be trusted to shape our perspectives on church life, the mature Christian is the one who gathers with other Christians looking to give and get. In Pauline lingo we call this mutual edification (see 1Cor 12:7ff; Eph 4:16). The irony is that while Giver and Taker look very different, they actually share the same heartbeat.

Taker — He appears humble & hungry but he might not consider anything beyond his own desires. The church exists to meet his needs and if they aren’t met he’ll walk. He’s prideful.

Giver — He appears selfless & mature but he might not sense his own inadequacies and brokenness. He endeavors to be God’s gift to the lesser brothers in the church. He doesn’t expect to receive anything because he can’t imagine what anyone would have to offer him. He’s prideful.

God save us from our pride and pop spirituality–in all their variegated forms. 

Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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