The Good Book says that “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. This biblical principle is the sixth in a series explaining the values that we are using in our work in Samoa.
In commercial usage, this is called the principle of Giver’s Gain and has been well promoted by BNI.
[Pic: A slaughtered pig. Giving is highly structured culturally. In Samoa giving is a highly refined, elaborate system that has big consequences, when getting things right and getting things wrong! Everything has it’s value and use and must fit in place – fine mats, cans of fish AND pigs!]
I quote from the universal source of truth [cough, cough] Wikipedia:
Givers Gain is the belief that when (business) people set goals to help others and honestly work to achieve these goals, they usually gained the most out of the experience – through a reciprocal benefit. It is also the strap line of BNI. Although this philosophy has been adopted by many different types of organizations throughout the world, the main focus of this philosophy resides in two main areas:
- religion/personal spirituality and
- entrepreneurship/small business networking.
Since the 1990s, small businesses owners have found they face an increasing number of issues, especially in the area of building trust with customers. Both new and existing businesses face this particular issue. The most effective way to earn trust is through customer referrals.
The Givers Gain philosophy, when applied to small business networking, helps business function at their best, as the groups works together to give each other bring in new customers. When people focus on others instead of themselves in business networks, it will create an image of one who helps other people. Others will in return want to help them. Thus the Givers are also Gaining from the experience. Since has been a proven, positive way to improve your business, many of the small business networking organizations have adopted the idea of “Givers Gain” as their motto.
Nice to see that the business world can adopt biblical principles and use them well. They should do this a lot more too – including acknowledging the real source of wealth – but enough of my preaching here’s where the concept is first mentioned. In Acts 20:35, Paul writes:
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Interestingly Jesus actual words are never quoted verbatim. We only have Mr Energizer Bunny himself telling us that Jesus spoke them. I’ve got to believe that He did actually speak them as part of His teaching face-to-face but I see more of Him actually giving than talking about it – giving of His time, wisdom, healing, love and so on but it’s all the same nonetheless – we go by the same rules around here.
Now a simple maths equation does not cut the mustard with this principle. If you have four apples and give two of them away then you have only one left. Maths is just maths. But when you put the giving into context, and think bigger picture than just me me me, then your equation looks like this: Four apples, minus two equals One apple in the hand and two friends who will one day give you a Size two pig, a bed for the night, and introduce to more people who will lighten your apple load and give you a gazillion other things that they have plenty of but that you need and want.
In case you are wondering why my maths is all wrong, you are not thinking laterally. Nobody will normally buy four apples and give them all away – that is crazy charity. Actually some do live by this rule and swear by it. They call it “living by faith” and lots of other things. We’re not quite at that point! So in regards to the apples you will always eat one, that’s why you bought them in the first place, eh?
It goes something like this – we share what we have (the first principles), and put together something that creates real value by giving to each other. Sounds like a warm-fuzzy New Age commune? Nope. It’s more like a Palagi business built on a barter website by smart business people who care.
Now in case you think that I’m in for it for me, I’ve given up all I have to give to Samoa. It takes a long time to wrestle with any new culture and for me engaging with Samoa has been a real mixed bag, but at the heart of it all is a deep love, and giving heart that just wants the best for this place and the people here. Of course I will get what I need for my wife and family as I go about my business here, but if I try to keep my expertise and profit for myself, I deny the multitudes here who can benefit from what I have.
The idea of giving? It hurts – even when the Sally Army knocks at the door, and Plunket follows shortly after, there is a pain factor that will never go away. But invest into Lotto or the deal of a lifetime from that Garage Sale, or online auction site, and well . . . what’s the problem? We’ll even borrow from our mates to give to the cause.
We’ll give for a while if something like a Tsunami touches our heartstrings but if we can get real benefit from giving, then many of us will be giving sometimes even beyond our means.
Our aim is to help people to give. If someone invests say $20,000.00 into a backpackers unit, or maybe an eco-unit, or maybe a Village Stay Unit, and they get 200x bed nights in return, we WANT them to give those nights to their friends. We WANT them to share their love of Samoa and what they are doing with their friends and family. We WANT them to do this because it is a great lesson in practical ongoing giving. It’s easy to do and gives everyone a buzz in the process.
Almost like a blessing that keeps on blessing really.
Yup – that Good book really had a few good ideas hidden within, didn’t it.
So four minus two equals one – one
hell of a time BIG blessing!
- Barter – exchange – collaborative commerce – whatever you want to call it, the principle we are working with is that of exchanging and sharing the assets of two parties, for the benefit of both.
- It’s not about money. It’s about people; sharing a vision and building relationships.
- Use what we have in our hands (exercising faith), as instructed to do (obedience).
- We wish to use only the best available to us.
- Our Take Nothing Home policy means that we eliminate excessive personal gain.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive
The Fourteen Principles:
- 1. What’s yours is mine
- 2. Vision > relationships > money
- 3. Use what you have
- 4. Use only the Best
- 5. Take Nothing Home
- 6. Giver’s Gain
- 7. Cross Cultural Partnership
- 8. Financial Equivalence
- 9. Everyone loves a winner
- 10. A biblical value-base
- 11. Work Smarter, Not Harder
- 12. We should empower others
- 13. Do The Right Thing
- 14. Walk the land