Our business networking group works according to certain principles, the most important of which are showing up every week, getting to know everyone in the group, and referring business to fellow members.
People who neglect to perform these disciplines generally leave after several weeks or a few months saying, “I never got any business from the group; it’s not worth my time.”
Such proffered excuses are actually a cover-up. The real reason is a failure to understand the importance of giving to others before expecting anything in return.
Another networking organization uses the motto, “Givers gain.” They warn would-be members that if you come to the group expecting that the dues you pay is all that is required, then all you will be is poorer. Dues by themselves do not produce relationships, trust, or referrals.
Jesus used this same principle to talk about judgmentalism, condemnation, and forgiveness. He said that “what you give is what you get.” In other words, if you refuse to forgive others, that is how you will be treated by them.
In another text, Paul the apostle told a church in ancient Galatia that a principle of life is that you reap what you sow. If you plant corn seeds you will get corn, not almond trees. Similarly, if you plant generosity and grace, that is what grows from your life. If you’re unkind or gossipy or stingy, well……
This principle of getting and gaining is a paradox, because it presupposes a willingness in the beginning to turn loose of something unconditionally without thought of profit or benefit. The given thing may be forgiveness, money, hospitality, or kindness. Giving away must be done before receiving is possible.
Jesus used the plant world to illustrate this very simple principle of human relationships. A seed planted in the ground holds the destiny of the plant that will emerge from the soil. A new member in our networking group holds the keys to her success or failure.
And a person seeking relationships with other people will receive what he gives to the relationship. Simple as that.