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Think about all the service your render in this church. Now imagine dividing your ward into two groups: The Givers and the Receivers. Which group do you see yourself in? If you’re like me, you instantly picture yourself fully active, serving, and giving. You’re in the Givers group.
A few weeks ago in Ward Council, our Young Men’s President posed this question as part of his Spiritual Thought. He waited a moment for us to think. As I looked around at those in attendance, I recalled hearing this group referred to as the STP—the Same Ten People who always show up to deliver food, set up chairs, clean, and so on.
“I would imagine,” he said, “in this room, most of us would put ourselves in the Givers category.” Yep, that was what I had visualized.
And then he said, “But we would be wrong.” Then he shared examples of the abundant blessings we all receive from God. He reminded us that even though some of us may think of ourselves as “the good son,” in fact we are all the Prodigal Son. We are all sinners who need to repent and come home. Even “the good son” lacked charity, humility, and a forgiving heart.
We all depend upon our God for everything we have and everything we are. In Mosiah 4:19 King Benjamin asks his people, “Are we not all beggars?” and reminded us never to think of ourselves as better than another.
Finally, he invited us to consider Christ’s Atonement, without which not one of us could ever hope to return to our Father in Heaven. We can never balance the scales and truly repay Christ in kind. It’s impossible. Thus, we are all receivers. Receivers of his mercy, his love, and all that he has if we only repent.
Too often, we imagine ourselves doing all the work and being the faithful ones. We look at others who drop the ball, who aren’t dependable, and we see a dividing line between us.
Our bishop then shared Elder Renlund’s story about a “good missionary” who worked diligently but was saddled with an immature companion lacking in enthusiasm for the work. Apparently this missionary was feeling particularly resentful when he glanced back and saw that his companion had gotten off his bicycle and was walking, instead. The first missionary expressed his frustration to God. But then he “had a profound impression, as if God were saying to him… ‘compared to me, the two of you aren’t all that different.’”
Indeed, from where God sits, we look pretty much the same: Very imperfect mortals who have a very long way to grow.
We all fall so short of ideal, and we’re all so very needy of God’s help, that we really have no business deciding who is giving the most and who is receiving the most. We’re all living, breathing, and striving to grow because God gave us this insanely phenomenal gift of life.
So here we are, all of us hurtling through space on the same ball, a glorious orb without actual borderlines, but filled with God’s children. We all trip, we all fall. We all let others down from time to time. We receive far more from God than we can possibly return—thus every one of us is overpaid. And not one of us is more important than another.
In the end, there is only one Giver who stands out– our Savior, Jesus Christ. The rest of us are Receivers of his boundless love and mercy.