Are you living at a conversational pace? And when you have a conversation, do you do more talking or listening? I’ve had people fly across the country to spend an hour with me, and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Trust me—I love hearing people’s stories. But I was left wondering why they wanted to talk to me. I guess they literally wanted to talk!
Here’s a thought: God gave us two ears and one mouth—use them in that proportion! What does that have to do with please? Please, like listening, is others-focused. It’s asking for permission, which empowers the other party. It puts them in the captain’s chair.
Author and professor Adam Grant made a distinction between givers and takers. Takers have a scarcity mindset. They tend to be self-focused: Here I am. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and their primary interest is self-interest. Givers have an abundance mindset—what goes around comes around. Their objective is adding value to others: There you are.
Givers and takers have diametrically opposed metrics of success. For a taker, whoever has the most toys at the end of the game wins. It’s all about getting what’s theirs. A giver doesn’t just love to give; they live to give. In the words of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
My friend Brad Formsma wrote I Like Giving. It’s the gold standard when it comes to generosity. It’s all about inspiring people to be generous with their thoughts, words, money, time, attention, belongings, and influence. It was Brad who introduced me to Stanley Tam, the founder of the United States Plastic Corporation. When I met Stanley, he was well into his nineties and had given more than $120 million to kingdom causes. Over dinner he said something I’ll never forget: “God’s shovel is bigger than ours.” In other words, you can’t outgive God. Then he said something else that was simple yet profound: “God can’t reward Abraham yet, because his seed is still multiplying.”
What if we viewed words the way we view money?
We have just released a 8- week study on the topic: Please, Sorry, Thanks. It does not go chapter by chapter through Mark Batterson’s book by the same title. Rather, it deals with similar themes. You can get it on Amazon. It is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking.