I couldn’t possibly count the times that I’ve watched an ESPN interview, where some NBA player utters something like, “I just wanted to give something back to the community….” Only that athlete could accurately answer the reason for his desired actions, whether it was a day of volunteer serving at a Thanksgiving Day soup line, or his personally gifting some organization with a new building or vehicle. Perhaps it was a heart of gratefulness for the many blessings that athletes like him have enjoyed. Maybe he just felt a bit guilty when he compared his salary to those around him in need. Whatever the motive, the principle involved in that statement is good – not only for those that will benefit from that “giving back…”, but also for the athlete himself. In fact, in this case, the giver of the gift may benefit much more greatly than the recipients to whom he was giving.
Acts 20:35 quotes Jesus in a well-known verse of the Bible, stating that it is more blessed to give than to receive. This truth is why that athlete would ultimately come out as the real winner by and through his selfless act of giving.
Friday’s LEADERCAST GAINESVILLE was all about this principle of giving. True leaders, as it was stated over and over, give. They give of their lives, their time, their wisdom, and their money. The first speaker at this international simulcast was Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley, whose message was an amazing collection of memorable statements, each worthy of individual contemplation. I do want to share a couple of Andy’s thoughts with you…
First, he said, “The value of your leadership will always be measured by how much of it was given away.” Wow. That is so practical, and it is so real. People remember the acts of those whose love was more than just expressed in words – their love was proven by tangible giving.
The truth of that powerful statement is indeed proven with the next statement made by Andy, when he said, “We don’t celebrate accumulation at a funeral.” That is exactly right. It is not the gathering of one’s wealth, vehicles, businesses, or anything else that is remembered at the funeral of a loved man. It is his heart, and his love, that was given freely during his life that is remembered, and recounted with deep, appreciative emotion.
What is it that I am doing with my life? Am I spending my time and effort in the accumulation of material goods? Or am I freely giving away to others from my heart, and the many blessings that I’ve been given?
I pray that the latter would be the legacy I leave behind. I won’t ever be a rich athlete interviewed by ESPN. But, I can give back!
Till next time.
~ Mike Gilland
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