Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19
Within three weeks our family lost two men who we considered to be pillars in our family. The first was our great uncle. He was the last living of twelve children born to parents who immigrated to America from Italy. His parents and his siblings were Italian Americans and very proud of it. His passing represented the end of a generation. The second was our father. He was the oldest of the next generation as well as the head of our family. He was the one who passed the traditions and beliefs of his Italian American heritage onto our family. Words that have been spoken about these two men include: faithful, hard-worker, devoted, family-oriented, giver, caring, husband, father, and so many more.
I have been reflecting on the word “giver.” The verb give is defined as: “to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation.” Therefore a giver is the one who presents voluntarily or without expecting compensation. What I witnessed these two men give was inspiring. They gave their love and friendship. They gave their time, talents and treasures to their family, their businesses, their friends, and their community. They freely gave (shared) their knowledge of business, carpentry, landscaping, horse training, and politics. They gave a seat at their table to anyone who needed a meal and some fellowship. They gave jobs to those who needed one. What do you freely give? What will you be remembered by others for giving?
In this passage in Luke, Jesus gave healing to the ten lepers. The lepers received (or took) healing. But one of them, the foreigner turned around and gave. He gave “praise to God.” Jesus gave voluntarily and without expecting compensation but the foreigner acknowledged the gift that had been given to him. It was an indicator of how thankful the foreigner was for the gift. The foreigner was a Samaritan, many didn’t believe he deserved anything. Thinking of my Italian American family, maybe they gave so freely because they understood what it was like to receive so much from a new country. Are you thankful for the gifts you have received from God? How have you acknowledged those gifts?
As a business owner, this call to be a giver is especially important. I know that my business is only possible because God gave it to me. He gave me the vision, the strength, the encouragement, the resources, and the courage to step out in faith to start the business. And He continues to give as he brings clients and business opportunities to me. I have received much, therefore, I have much to give. When starting my business, I made a conscientious decision to tithe on my revenue to support Christian organizations. It is a monthly reminder to continue giving as God gives to me so abundantly.
As a business owner, leader or individual contributor, how can you continue to approach your work as a chance to give?