A few years back, I heard a story about a well-known church member who owned a local hardware store. He had built the business from scratch and sought to treat his customers with respect and to be as helpful as possible. He was also quite generous as he sponsored local kid’s sports teams and donated quite a bit to charity events, despite the slow economy. On one particular day, a member of his church came in to buy a few items. The church member waited patiently to talk to this owner and make sure the owner was the one to settle the payment. As they greeted each other with a bit of small talk about the church and last Sunday’s sermon…the church member leaned in and said, ‘”How about throwing in the ‘fellow church member’s 10% discount,’ brother?” The owner looked up from his reading glasses with a smile and said, “You know it’s been quite tough year for our business, we took some huge hits from companies that did not pay us. How about we apply the ‘fellow church member’s support’ and charge you 10% more?!?”
Wow, kind of makes you think, doesn’t it!?! I mean, rarely do we think of helping out a business by paying a little more, maybe in tipping, but mostly, we love the discounts. We love the thought of getting more for less or getting the best deal or the discounted price or the lower rate. It is a given that we would take most any deal to pay less for goods or services.
Now there is nothing bad about being frugal or finding the best price, but what about the opportunity to give? To bless in some way those we do business with; a smile, a kind word, saying thank you, forgiving mistakes, a generous tip (by the way generous would be well over 20%), being nice and polite, and treating employees with respect. The Bible does have something to say about what we are to give…
Ephesians 4:32 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
1 Peter 3:8-9 8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
Jesus is the greatest example of this as He did not look to take from people, but to love them and give Himself to them.
Matthew 9:35 35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
John 15:13 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
This notion of giving and taking also spills into our work life. Sure we give of our time, energy, and talent and do take home a paycheck, but are we looking to give to our companies or business’ success or just take from it? Though the ancient world had slaves and masters, this verse in Ephesians can apply to the work world of today.
Ephesians 6:5-8 5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. 6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
So the big question is will you give or take today at work, at home, at school, or at the store? I wonder how different this world would be or could be if we chose to give more and take less. Maybe try it and see.
Seeking to take less and give more with you,
P.S. One of greatest examples of those in the work world who give more and take less are moms! This Sunday is Mother’s Day, why not honor and give a blessing to a mom you know.