Deuteronomy 3:12-20 – In Praise of Some People I Admire – The Givers

Posted: December 2, 2016 in 05-Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 3:12-20

Land Division East of the Jordan

The key words that are ever present in this passage are “give” and “receive”. That seems appropriate for the season that we are in now – the Christmas Season. Not the Holiday Season but the Christmas Season and, yes, I do not care if I am politically incorrect when I say that. Enough of that short rant and to the point of my blog this morning. Giving and receiving are the point of the passage. To take it a step further there is a “giving to” and a “receiving from” with the Giver being God.


There are some people in my life that epitomize the giver lifestyle that reminds me of how God gives to us and we receive from Him. There are four people that I want to talk about today that are givers but yet are often not receivers of praise, three of them are women and one of them is a man. I am going to break with the general protocol in society of “ladies first.” We will start with the man.


His name is Jerry Taylor, Jr. He is a man’s man. No wimp is he. But there is no greater giving heart among men that I know right now in my life. He is affectionately called Junior by us all here in town. Junior owns the family business, Taylor Auto Sales, here in town in Lyman, SC. It amazes me how Junior sees his business as his ministry. Sure, Junior makes money off of his business and he has other things he is into. He’s a wheeler-dealer as the old expression goes. If Junior does something, it is going to make money. However, he does not see that as the point of his life. His good business sense is simply a God-given talent. He uses his business to show the love of Jesus to people he comes in contact with. He sees each and every relationship that he builds as an opportunity to speak of Jesus Christ. But, he is not a Bible-thumping, judgmental type if that is what you think. He is just a good man who loves helping people. His auto business helps so many people get into cars that may not otherwise get into cars. He may make less money per car than other used car lot owners but you ask anybody in this area if there is a better man to deal with when buying cars than Junior Taylor – they will be speechless. Junior gives to his church, LifeSong Church, in quiet, unassuming ways. He is there when the church needs him. He is just a people lover and his life is ministry. I am thankful just to be in his orbit. He amazes me. He is full of life. A good looking man with a beautiful wife and he just is a magnet when it comes to other people. If he’s in a crowd, people will gravitate to him naturally. He is a giver. He lives his life thinking of how he can help others.


Now to the women. First, let’s speak of a friend. Karen Revis is another of the givers that I know in my life. She is another that sees her life and her work as her ministry. She is a home health nurse that visits patients in their homes that are assigned to her. Her set of patients that she sees each week are assigned to her by her employer, Spartanburg Regional Hospital System. She visits with each of these shut-in patients who require frequent medical attention. She sees this job as her ministry. She will pray with patients. She will speak about Jesus to these patients. Again, it is not in a way that is brow-beating. It just flows naturally through Karen’s conversations with people she comes in contact with. She is a single mom and grandmother and has been single for a good many years. However, unlike many of us, who have jumped from one marriage to another. She long ago decided that raising her children was more important than getting into another marriage. The way that she has set aside her own desires to make sure that her children were raised properly and not left to fend for themselves as some single moms do is amazing in this selfish day and age. She raised four kids to adulthood pretty much on her own for many years. Yet, she is not bitter but found joy in putting her kids first. She may even have to help raise several of her grandkids now for reasons I will not get into. But to take them is not a question to her, but rather how can she do it. She is a giver and rarely receives praise. She quietly does her ministry of caring for others without fanfare.


The next woman is my own oldest daughter, Meghan. She was born to be a giver. She has been a mom since she became a sister. She was born to be a mom. She is a school teacher because that is what she was born to be also. She loves her kids at school with a passion. She loves educating them and giving them what they need to be well-adjusted kids and adults. To hear the pain in her voice when she speaks of kids who have the deck stacked against them at home shows me how much she cares about them. She cares about them long after they have passed through their grade. She has been a teacher for nine years now and there are kids from nine years ago that are seniors in high school now that still remember her when they see her. You remember that one teacher in school that you knew not only was a great teacher but you knew they really deep down cared about you. That’s my daughter. She also went through some rough times in her marriage a couple of years ago and she had every right to walk away, but she is a grace-giver. She amazes me in how she sees the best in people and will give them second chances. As a father who has made so many mistakes with his kids during my second marriage (as I have talked about earlier this week), Meghan still loved me and gave me grace. She could have walked away from me long ago, but she was there to love me through my divorce and to be my rock always. Meghan is a giver who demonstrates grace and love as Christ followers should. She teaches. She influences. She loves. She gives grace. She gives.


The last woman that I will talk about is of course my own dear wife. Elena is a nurturer. Elena is a giver. Elena is an unsung hero. First, she gives way more to me than I do to her. She sees it as part of the ministry of her life to take care of me. In fact, I am pretty well spoiled rotten by her. She takes care of all the details of my life and I do not thank her enough for it. She quietly goes about making sure that I have clean clothes, that I am well fed, that all the little and sometimes big errands that would take away from me being able to work part-time at LifeSong and full-time at Fujikura America get done. She takes care of our home such that I hardly have to do anything to care for our home. She does all this as a ministry to me, her husband. She does not do it so that she can get something from it, although I do spoil her on occasion (but probably not as much as I should). She does it because she sees it as her biblical command to support me as the breadwinner of our family. She gives and gives to me but yet I feel as though I do not give enough back to her for all, all the, all the stuff she does for me. I have been so used to being in marriages where it was an investment scenario – I will do this for you but you better damn sure do for me in return. Elena is a giver to me. She gives and gives and gives. She gives. Also, you should see this amazing woman outside our home. She is the most generous person I know. She would give the shirt off her back to a person if she knew it would help. She genuinely cares about every person that comes to our church for help. She aches for people that I would not even notice as having problems. She prays for people daily. She goes out of her way to give to others. She puts me to shame with the giving nature of her heart. She notices when her friends need lifting up and I am oblivious. She has this sense of when people are hurting and goes to them to lift them up. She amazes me and I am proud to call her my wife. She is a giver and her life is a ministry of giving.


These are four people in my life that I admire a great deal because of their giving nature. They don’t expect fanfare for their giving nature. It’s just part of their DNA. It’s just who they are. I feel like a selfish, self-centered person in comparison to these four people. They exhibit the giving nature of God. When I was thinking about the key words of giving and receiving in today’s passage, these names floated to the surface rather quickly. Let’s read today’s passage, Deuteronomy 3:12-20 and then I will tie all this together at the close:


12 Of the land that we took over at that time, I gave the Reubenites and the Gadites the territory north of Aroer by the Arnon Gorge, including half the hill country of Gilead, together with its towns. 13 The rest of Gilead and also all of Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (The whole region of Argob in Bashan used to be known as a land of the Rephaites. 14 Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, took the whole region of Argob as far as the border of the Geshurites and the Maakathites; it was named after him, so that to this day Bashan is called Havvoth Jair.[a]) 15 And I gave Gilead to Makir. 16 But to the Reubenites and the Gadites I gave the territory extending from Gilead down to the Arnon Gorge (the middle of the gorge being the border) and out to the Jabbok River, which is the border of the Ammonites. 17 Its western border was the Jordan in the Arabah, from Kinnereth to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea), below the slopes of Pisgah.


18 I commanded you at that time: “The Lord your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross over ahead of the other Israelites. 19 However, your wives, your children and your livestock (I know you have much livestock) may stay in the towns I have given you, 20 until the Lord gives rest to your fellow Israelites as he has to you, and they too have taken over the land that the Lord your God is giving them across the Jordan. After that, each of you may go back to the possession I have given you.”


As you will note that the word gave was used at least three times in these eight verses and the other side of giving, receiving, is used once in this passage. God is the giver and the Israelites are the receiver. God did not have to make Israel his people, but He did it. He did not have to give them the Promised Land but He did it. Especially when you consider that Israel rebelled against Him at every turn in the wilderness, they surely did not deserve God’s giving nature. But, yet, God in His love for people, He forgives and gives. He may allow us to deal with the consequences of our sins but He gives us grace. He gives us forgiveness. He gave us His Son so that we could be reconciled to Him even though we do not deserve it and cannot do anything to pay Him back for it. God is the ultimate giver. He desires that people come unto Him so that they can live in the peace of His love. He gives so that this will happen.


Thus, in this season of giving, we are mainly focused on what we can get ourselves. We may give great gifts to our significant other or spouse because we expect to get back. We expect to get repaid. We expect to be paid back. Our relationships outside of the Christmas season are like this too. We do for others because we expect to get something in return. I mention these four people, Junior, Karen, Meghan, and my wife, Elena, because they epitomize people who give because that is what we are to do as Christ followers. We give because we love. If we expect payback from our love, is it really love? As Christ followers, we give because we love others. We give because we do it as an act of thanksgiving for what Christ has done for us, in us, and through us. We give because it is of the character of God. God gave to Israel repeatedly not because they deserved it or could pay Him back, but because God loves. God gives. God is a giving God. So, if I give a little praise to Junior, Karen, Meghan and Elena, it is because they live lives of giving. Their lives are little examples of the giving nature of God. If I could only be as giving and as reflective of the nature of God as these four.


Amen and Amen.

  1. I’m at a loss for words right now. You’re too kind Baby. I love you!!


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