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Givers, Keepers, and Takers

Jeff Keaton

There are at least three types of people in this world. I would like to describe them as Givers, Keepers, and Takers.

Let’s start with the group that all of us hope we belong to, Givers. I believe this group contains by far the smallest number of people. These are the ones who are driven to give of their time, resources, and passion to others. They get a sense of great joy in giving of themselves to other people and causes. They often give out of a sense of deep gratitude for all they have received. These folks are not victims. They don’t think anyone owes them anything and have no problem taking from whatever they have, be it great or small, and giving it to those in need, even if those in need haven’t been the best at handling their business. They would rather be in need themselves than see others in need. They will throw their energy and resources behind organizations with grand visions to change lives and the world for the better. Givers are world changers! The key words that define Givers are sacrifice and generosity. The person in biblical history who best illustrates the Giver is Jesus.

The second group, and by far the largest, is what I would like to call the Keepers. These individuals work hard to provide for themselves and their families. They live with the mentality that everyone should earn their own way and that if you earned it, you deserve to keep it. People in this group can be very generous to family members and people they are very close to. However, they are rarely generous to people or organizations who are not directly benefiting them or their family. The Keepers are good, solid people. They don’t take from others, and they make good neighbors. They keep their house looking nice and care about how you keep yours. They make up most of the church members in America. They will pay their tithe out of a sense of duty and obedience, but it pains them to give above and beyond this minimum standard. The key words that describe the Keepers are safety and security. The person in biblical history who best illustrates the Keeper is the Rich Young Ruler, who came to Jesus but went away sad because he wanted to keep what he had.

The last group of people that we see and none of us want to be a part of is the Takers. These are the ones who angle everything to their own advantage. Takers will even take from their own family members or church if it makes their life easier. The individuals in this group tend to believe the world owes them something. They’re thrilled when they can get handouts or when they can beat someone out of a few bucks. They’re always looking for some reason to sue a “big” company, and they likely spend money gambling in hopes of hitting the jackpot, so they won’t have to work anymore. Takers drain the life out of those around them and are rarely involved in building a significant legacy. The key words that define Takers are selfish and greedy. The person in biblical history who best illustrates the Taker is Judas Iscariot.

To be fair, all of us have a little Giver, Keeper, and Taker in us. Some important questions: Are Givers born as Givers, or can we move from the lower categories into the higher one of being a generous, sacrificial giver, and how do we do that? First, I do believe that certain personalities, experiences, and upbringings prepare some people to naturally be more generous. You can see this very early in children. However, I also believe that the gospel is all about leading people from being self-centered to others-centered. The more we mature in Christ, the more generous we should become. The more we live out the surrendered Christian life, the easier it is to think of others first and to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit that will always lead us to quickly join Him in the work He is doing on earth. It’s hard to be deeply in love with Christ and be anything other than a Giver.

So, as we evaluate where we stand in relationship to these three groups, let’s take a moment to pray and ask the Lord to reveal to us who we really are and what needs to happen for each one of us to become a generous, giving, value-adding person. If it pains us to give, let’s ask the Lord to forgive us for our love of material things and our desire to use them to create self-worth and security. If we’re ungrateful and feel like the world owes us, let’s repent of this sin and make a long list of the blessings we have. If we fuss every time we see a drug addict begging for money on the side of the road, let’s remember that if it weren’t for the grace of God, that person could be us.

One final thought. Givers are generous because they have learned that what they have is a gift and trust from God and is to be used for His honor, glory, and purposes. They truly believe that their life is about so much more than what they can personally accumulate or how much pleasure they can experience. They fully understand that the Lord gives, and the Lord has every right to take away, but in the meantime, we have the privilege of bringing tremendous blessing and good to the world God has placed in our care.

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