Givers are an interesting paradox when it comes to joy in the community.
Broadly speaking, Giver institutions and cities are not intrinsically joyful. Take NYC for example. I don’t think of bubbly, ebullient people on the street when I think of NYC or any Giver region or nation.
When you drill down from the macro to the individual, the Giver is also not very prone to enjoying his own joy in any sort of flamboyant, corporate way.
The flip side, though, is that the mature Giver usually finds great delight in helping others enjoy their joy. The maternal Giver will be deeply vested in each of the formal and informal rites of passage for her kids. She finds her joy in empowering them to enjoy their joy, while the mom stays more in the background.
Even if the Giver did not directly support the celebratory event, he or she will usually find significant pleasure in sitting at the edge of the action, savoring the fact that their community is experiencing the joys of life.
This is a picture of the mature Giver. By contrast, the wounded Giver will often have pernicious jealousy of anyone else who has great joy and will sabotage that joy in sundry ways. Thus the beauty of the well anchored Giver, empowering the celebrations of others, shines even brighter against the backdrop of celebrations stained by the wounded, hurtful Giver.
Consider these dynamics in Abraham. He had abundance and could enjoy his joy endlessly. However, his remonstrance to God was that he found no pleasure in enjoying his own joy, but would find vast joy in enjoying the joy of a son.
And in fact, when Isaac’s second rite of passage came about, Abraham the Giver threw such a huge party for the kid – who ironically wasn’t enjoying any joy that day! – that it changed all of human history because of the jealousy that was unleashed toward Isaac by Ishmael and continues malevolently to this day.
With that portrait in mind, read the entire book of Matthew and notice how often the Giver dwelt at length on the rites of passage and other key transitions. The visit of the Magi, the baptism of Christ, His temptation and entrance into ministry are heavily documented in a celebratory form by Matthew.
Going forward you see major events in the history of the Twelve documented more carefully by Matthew, than the other evangelists: the call of the Twleve; their being sent out on their first mission; the history-making transition from chapter 12 to chapter 13 where He began to share parables.
Then Matthew meticulously documents the various times Christ announced His impending death and resurrection – history’s ultimate rite of passage – to the disciples-in-denial!
Throughout the whole of the book, Matthew rarely mentions himself. But with a Giver’s keen eye for the pivotal transitions and informal rites of passage, he frames the story of the Messiah as only a Giver can – capturing the joy of community at critical junctures.
And God liked it so much, He anchored the New Testament in the Giver’s perspective of joy in the community.
That says a lot for how much God enjoys watching Givers enjoying the joy of their community when it is at a place of great joy.
Copyright June 2016 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub