Takers and Givers

Unhappy Couple 2I don’t like one-sided relationships. But I’m in one, where I feel like I do all the giving. I don’t mind doing my fair share, but a little appreciation would go a long way. In a perfect world we would share the same goals and work together towards them, but that’s not happening anytime soon. So I grit my teeth and write the check to the IRS, and pay my taxes once again.
Are you a taker or a giver? Everybody loves a giver. Givers are considered generous, compassionate and loving. Takers, on the other hand, are viewed as greedy, selfish and uncaring. As a single person, many of us had been looking out for #1 for so long that we didn’t automatically shift gears when we got married. But we do need to shift gears. Selfishness steals from our marriage, whereas generosity  enhances it. To emphasize the point, the Apostle Paul substitutes the verb take with the word steal in Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.burglar 2
Paul wants our relationship with Jesus to change us from being takers into givers. Walking with Jesus is supposed to change us from being self-centered to being others centered.
Most people agree that every relationship should have a little give and take but I’d like to modify that just a little. Because I’ve noticed that instead of give and take, marriage works better when characterized by give and receive. It may be semantics but I think there is an important distinction. Many people say marriage is a 50/50 proposition. I give 50%, my spouse gives 50% and that makes a good marriage. The problem with this equation is that it leaves both spouses with their cup half full. The bible instructs us to give ourselves completely to our spouse. If I’ve done the math right, that means that biblical marriage is a 100/100 proposition. If I give 100% to my spouse and my spouse give 100% to me, both of our needs are met 100%. Even better, they are not met by us taking what we need, but rather, by receiving what is gladly given by our spouse.
Jesus said, It is more blessed to give than to receive… and it is. But receiving is pretty fun too!Happy Couple on Beach

Life is Like a Potpie

Many people see their life like a TV dinner. You have your main course – your relationship with God. Then this compartment is your marriage, that one is your job, and another is recreation, etc… But we think life is more like a potpie.
It has all the essential ingredients, but not it’s nearly as orderly. A potpie has your meat, your veggies, some wonderful gravy, and I love the crust that keeps it all together. Yummm! And make sure you leave room for dessert. My wife, Andee writes a blog called PaladiniPotPie. It is an assortment of family traditions, God stories, and practical observations. She also throws in some recipes and family lore that have kept life in the Paladini family interesting, challenging and sometimes downright wacky! We want to share them with you. Check out http://paladinipotpie.com/. You’ll love it!

Priscilla & Aquila

The sign above the entry door said “Aquila & Sons” but we don’t read anything about their children. No doubt they had a family to feed, bills to pay and customers to satisfy. They were tentmakers, a noble trade in a time when tents were often used as a residence or a place of business. Large TentThe tent was the first century mobile home so Priscilla & Aquila were mobile. They settled in Italy after they married and set up shop. But soon they were run out of Italy because the emperor didn’t like Jews. (Acts 18:2) If you’ve ever been discriminated against or uprooted against your will, you know how they felt. And if you’ve ever moved to a new town, where you didn’t know anyone, you know how important the companionship of your spouse is.Holding Hands
I love how every time you see Priscilla & Aquila in the bible they are mentioned together. God even uses the collective pronoun they to emphasize the oneness of their relationship saying they were tentmakers. Society at that time wouldn’t even mention a woman’s name or contribution, but God does.
Priscilla & Aquila met the Apostle Paul in Corinth, and gave him a job and a place to live. Soon the church was meeting in their house. Interior TentPaul helped them turn a profit during the day and they opened their home so others could profit from his teaching at night. This was no small thing because it was against the law. Priscilla & Aquila were all in. And they were all in together. They recognized that although earning a living and raising a family was essential, God had a larger plan and they had an important part in it. They heartily exercised the gift of hospitality for the work of the Lord. These were sweet times in the life of Paul, as he had found partners who, like him, would risk their lives for the sake of the gospel (Rom 16:3-4).Interior Bedouin tent
Priscilla and Aquila were secure in their faith. After Paul left for Jerusalem they were carrying on the ministry in Ephesus when a highfalutin guy named Apollos came on the scene. He was good looking, eloquent and highly educated. A guy like this can be intimidating but obviously he hadn’t yet heard the gospel of grace. He was a great preacher but was still only preaching the message of John the Baptist, REPENT! Priscilla & Aquila believed Proverbs 9:9 which says: Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, teach a just man and he will increase in learning. So they discretely took Apollos aside and taught him about salvation through Jesus. And Apollos had a huge impact in spreading the gospel and the discipleship of the early church.
Priscilla & Aquila were a couple with purpose. They lived what they believed, and they lived it together. How about you?