“Giving, not getting, is the way” (Mark 4:21-24 lectio)

April 4, 2003

[Amway logo]Mark 4:21-24 lectio: Giving, not getting, is the way. Here’s a prime example of how lectio divina can open the scriptures in ways you could never have if you focused solely on trying to determine “authorial intent”. When I read “Giving, not getting, is the way” (and I am rapidly switching to The Message for my lectio), I had this thought:

Conventional evangelism doesn’t fly anymore because it is a sales pitch. It’s about me persuading you — specifically, persuading you that you are wrong. It’s about closing the deal. …Does Amway make your skin crawl? — You know, someone invites you over for dinner (so you thought), but you find that the reason you’re really there is so that they can sell you on a system so that they can make money off of you. — Remember that feeling, because that’s what evangelism often feels like to normal people. You come away thinking, “You don’t care about me at all; all you care about is promoting your thing.” In other words, it’s all about getting.

So let’s turn that on its head, and make evangelism all about giving: Me blessing you in any way I can. Why? Because this shows the love that God has for you, he is already blessing you, and he wants to bless you even more through his Son and through his Family. And how can I bless you? Many times, simply by being interested in who you are, without judgement.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

11 responses to “Giving, not getting, is the way” (Mark 4:21-24 lectio)

  1. Master,
    I now have the power to jpeg. thanks for the lesson.
    Hey Jon,
    Good thoughts on giving vs. taking. I’ve been switching from the NIV to the message for my lectia too–Eugene is just silly.
    Try thinking about sharing vs. giving too. I think what you’re describing goes much deeper than even giving–it’s sharing. David Ruis said it so well: “giving is easy; it’s sharing that is difficult.” Most people in the getting world “get” a release of their guilt over their responsibility to care for humanity by giving (hence, in some ways, giving can perpetuate the “getting” mindset). Many do this through volunteering at a soup kitchen once a year, giving some money to a TV ad for the less fortunate, or to church overseas missions, and then feel like “we’ve done our part.” Many even “get” that release through buying some guy sitting on the street a meal from a fast food joint and going out and “giving it to him”. the real challenge I belive you’re calling for is a people who embrace “shared life.” people who are willing to share THEIR food, share THEIR precious time, THEIR homes and clothes. Shared life has no agenda or alterior motives; rather it is born out of love for and interest in the lives of those around us.
    just a thought. jared

  2. Sharing vs. Giving
    Wow, Jared, that gets into the whole idea of the incarnation: That in order to be an ambassador of Christ to you, I MUST ENTER YOUR WORLD. And that, too, is a demonstration of what Christ does for us.
    …And the very act of entering your world changes me…
    …And it gives you permission to give to me. I am no longer a “getter,” I am a “receiver,” and God can use you to bless me as well…
    …[brain doing flip-flops, this is a lot to chew on]…
    Thanks!! –Jon

  3. Hi Jon! Followed a link here from Jared Williams’ blog and really enjoyed all I saw. I agree with Jared that your blog looks better than most. Great integration of pictures.
    Wonderful thoughts on Amway too… as a minister imagine how I felt when a guy from my church invited me over and tried to hook me up on Amway… told me that “lots of ministers do it”. Yuck.
    Anyway, great site!
    Greg Adkins

  4. Thanks for your reminders here. Your thinking is right along the lines of where my thoughts have been taking me lately. I never liked the gimmicks or formulas my upbringing taught me, and I always rebelled–I’m glad now to know it’s ok to have questionned those techniques.
    I hope you don’t mind…I linked to this entry on my blog today. Let me know if that’s a problem, but I appreciated your thoughts.

  5. Linking
    Relax, Laurie. If I didn’t want people to see or refer to what I blog, I wouldn’t be blogging.

  6. Kurt Grossman July 12, 2003 at 1:45 pm

    Sharing vs. Giving
    Finally! I got it. Giving always bothered me, because I usually did it to “get”.
    The distinction (languaging!) has cleared my mind. Now I am chewing and thinking…
    Giving is milk. Sharing is meat. Which reminds me of Jesus sharing His Body (meat) for us to eat. He didn’t just ‘give’ Himself to the world. He SHARES Himself, to the point he was willing to experience pain for another.
    HA! Pain for another. Deep sharing. In America??? Our culture must be creating a lot of hungry people out there. The harvest is plentiful in our nation.

  7. Lol! Amway as a metaphor of modern (vs. postmodern) evangelism! That’s too great (and too true)!
    Hey, I just found your blog through blogs4god, and have enjoyed reading your recent entries. I will be linking your blog to mine. PAX!

  8. Amway
    I like the amway pic and example. 🙂

  9. Hi Jon, I’ve been dropping in on your site for several weeks now so I deceided to make myself known. After I left the church that we attended together I had a bad taste in my mouth regarding evangelism. The taste is finally changing, especially along the lines that you are blogging about. Like really “sharing” with other people. I’ve been so blessed by the people I’ve met that don’t know Jesus. I’m focusing on loving and listening – remember John Wimber talked about when you’re praying for someone to keep one ear open to the Lord? So far no leading to “evangelize” anyone. Just show up and be the kingdom of God that is within me. No pressure, no performance, no hidden agenda. Its refreshing. I’m coming ‘round to believe that the kingdom of God is much more wholistic, and I put God in a box if I try to evangelize people. Anyway, just wanted to say HI!!

  10. Hi Helen, you lurker you!

  11. Great Post
    See above. We need to get away from the 4 Spiritual laws and remember just one: Love.