Indian Giver

When I was growing up, I remember this phrase being used around me, but I didn’t understand it. As I grew older, and understood the the complexities of relations between the United States and the Native Americans as this country developed, I thought I had a better grasp of it.

An Indian giver is one who gives with the expectation that he will be able to take back what he has given at any time. Many Native American tribes have the custom that if they give you a gift, then they expect one of equal value in return. The concept may refer back to this custom. It may also refer to the fact that despite numerous treaties with the Native tribes, the government always seemed to find a way out of the treaty. So I’m still not exactly sure where the phrase comes from. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.

What sparked this for me is Jesus statement that He gives peace, but not like the world gives. My interest here is the contrast between two types of giving and how they are different. If I am to understand this, it helps to know how Jesus gives. I know that God loved the world, and so gave His only Son, who suffered the penalty for our sins and gives us peace with God. God’s measure of giving is of infinite value, given without measure. That’s certainly not like the world, that likes to dole out only what it can afford to lose, or takes from one to give to another. God gave Himself.

Jesus also offers peace, beyond measure, to anyone. The world picks and chooses.

Jesus gives without expecting an equal gift in return. The world expects to be paid back. Jesus calls for faith and devotion. The world calls for enslavement, a “you owe me” mentality.

Jesus offers peace with An Almighty God before whom one day you will stand. The world offers temporary pleasures that must be paid for. Jesus offers to be your advocate and defend you with His blood. The world offers only sorrow and blame. Which would you rather have?

God bless you in your decision.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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