“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:38.

In our last devotional we talked about our responsibility to respect and value people. When we see the big picture, we notice that all people are important to Jesus. Mark’s, chapter 10, tells the story of two men. One is  identified as Bartimaeus. The other, the “rich man” remains unknown. Jesus did not show favoritism to a respected family in the community while ignoring the needs of ordinary or lesser known people. Jesus demonstrates amazing love to all who call upon His name.

Not many people who have been Christians for any amount of time would argue with what I just said. We should respect and value people. But how much of our respect for people is something we get, we receive, and how much is what we give?  The better question may be how much value do we bring to our friendships and relationships? Whether we are adults or parents trying to raise home run kids, it is a pertinent question. It is a question that requires an honest evaluation.

So, do you feel like you contribute to other people’s lives in a meaningful and positive way? Do you give more than you take? It may seem a strange question, because most people do not think of friendships as a contract, or an exchange of value. But relationships, distilled to its most basic leve is in fact a fairly, constant exchange.

Think about it for a second, whether you are an adult or a kid working out your first relationships. You first look for common interests, and decide if this friendship/relationship is worth pursuing.  It boils down to whether we get more out of the relationship than we give. Do they bring enough to the table? Do they add positive value?  But God and the Bible looks at it differently. We are to have a servant mentality and give more than we take. “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”  (Proverbs 11:24-25)

Each one of us are given special abilities by God. We have certain gifts and abilities, and someone else may have a completely different set of gifts and abilities. And the reason God has given these to us is not so we can take them and use them selfishly; He wants us to use them generously. He wants and expects us to use our abilities to contribute to the lives of others. And no where does it suggest you need to get more than you give.

When we contribute to the lives of others, we help others grow, and we grow at the same time. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. A good friend is not self-centered. Agree or disagree?
  2. In relationships, what does it mean to give more than we receive?
  3. Reflect on your “inner circle” of closer friends. Who in that circle has had their life enriched by your involvement in their life. 
  4. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17.  How does that verse affect your thinking on the give and take in relationships.