.           all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.             refer to

GIVING VERSUS GETTING – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        sharing, gifts
SCRIPTURE:    Mt.2:10-11, 25:34-40; Lk.7:36-48;
.             Acts 2:43-47; 1Cor.12:28; Phil.4:16-19
Style:        satire/conversation:  in a mock trial,
.             lawyers present their cases for both
.             giving and receiving, only to find
.             that these are inseparable.
Cast:         JUDGE, LAWYER 1-2, WISE MAN, WOMAN,
.             PERSON, PAUL
Set & Props:  “gavel”, scroll
(Paul can read from this),
.             lawyers’ notes (which can be the script)
.             3 chairs & small tables
.             (which face toward congregation at angles,
.              judge in the middle slightly back,
.              lawyers on either side, slightly forward.)
NOTE:         the witnesses can be the same 2 actors,
.             just changing their costume up a bit
.             with a crown, Bible time headgear, etc.


(LAWYERS 1 & 2 enter and sit at tables on either side.  
As JUDGE enters, both LAWYERS stand, until JUDGE
sits down at the center table.  JUDGE hits the table
with the gavel.)

JUDGE      Order in the court.  We will now
.          begin the proceedings of our next case:
.          (reading notes)  giving verses getting.
.          Now, what are your opening statements?

(LAWYERS stand when they are talking, and if mics allow,
sometimes approach the witnesses when it makes sense,
then sit back down when the other is speaking.)

LAWYER 1   Your honor, I am here to present my side
.          that: giving is better than getting.

LAWYER 2   And - I object!

JUDGE      Of course you do.  But this is where
.          you give your opening statement.
.                                                      2
LAWYER 2   I think we should have birthdays and
.          Christmases every day of the year.

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 2)  Present a good case,
.          and I’ll probably agree with you.

LAWYER 1   Your honor- I – object?

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 1)  Well, present a good case and
.          I will agree with you!  So let’s begin then.
.          You may call your first witness.

LAWYER 1   I call to the stand – one of the wise men.
.          He will be speaking for the entire group.

(WISE MAN enters and stands next to the judge’s table.
Always, as the lawyers talk with the witnesses,
they can glance at the witnesses from time to time,
but talk facing the congregation.  The congregation
will know that they are speaking with the witnesses.)

LAWYER 1   Wise man, did you - or did you not -
.          make a very long journey to find
.          the Christ-child who was born in Bethlehem.

WISE MAN   I – we did, yes.  It was a very long journey.

LAWYER 1   And during this time, did you give
.          the baby Jesus some very expensive gifts?

WISE MAN   Yes.  Yes we did.

LAWYER 1   And was it worth it?

WISE MAN   Indeed it was.  It was very worth it.
.          I would not change a thing.

LAWYER 1   Thank you.

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 2)  Do you have any questions
.          for this witness- this – ah - wise man?

LAWYER 2   Yes, I do.  So, wise man, you say that
.          you are speaking for the ENTIRE group.
.          This sounds a little misleading.
.          Were there not just three of you?
.                                                      3
WISE MAN   Actually, there was a group – a whole
.          bunch of us – who all felt the same way.
.          People keep getting the facts confused with
.          the THREE GIFTS that we had given:
.          gold, frankincense and myrrh.

LAWYER 2   We’re talking – some pretty fine gifts there.
.          Like, expensive!  Very expensive!
.          And you were fine with just
.          giving that all away?

LAWYER 1   Your honor, already asked and answered-

WISE MAN   Actually, I wish we could have given more.

LAWYER 1   Oh, no problem. (sits down, happy with answer)

LAWYER 2   Just answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ please.

WISE MAN   How can I?  I mean, here we had the honor
.          to come before the King of kings.
.          We just wanted to worship and adore Him
.          with everything we had.  Right?...

LAWYER 2   Ah, alright!  Please, you can stop now.

WISE MAN   (hasn’t really stopped talking)
.          We really do owe Him EVERTHING.
.          But there was just only so much
.          we could carry with us on our camels-

LAWYER 2   Okay!  Please, disregard everything
.          the wise man has just said, your honor.
.          And – no further questions.  Thank you.

JUDGE      (to WISE MAN)  You may leave the
.          witness stand now.  Although I was
.          curious to hear more.

(WISE MAN exits.)

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 1) You may call your next witness.

LAWYER 1   I call to the stand:  the woman from
.          Luke chapter 7.

(WOMAN enters and stands next to the judge.)           4

LAWYER 1   Tell us, woman from Luke chapter 7,
.          tell us about the expensive gift
.          that you gave to Jesus.

WOMAN      Oh, ah, well, when I heard that Jesus was
.          having a meal at the Pharisee’s house,
.          I quickly got my alabaster vial of perfume.

LAWYER 1   And what did you do with this
.          very expensive perfume?

WOMAN      I poured it all over Jesus’ feet.

LAWYER 1   And this felt like good thing to do?

WOMAN      Oh - yes.  It was the right thing to do.

LAWYER 1   Thank you.

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 2)  Do you have any questions
.          for this witness?

LAWYER 2   Woman, I heard that you broke down crying.
.          Were you crying when you poured out
.          all your perfume onto His feet?


LAWYER 2   Because you realized what a waste that was?

WOMAN      NO!  I was crying with such gratefulness.
.          I was a sinner and deserved death,
.          but Jesus gave me the gift of forgiveness.  

LAWYER 2   When will you people learn, just answer
.          my question with-

WOMAN      I am!  I was overjoyed because Jesus
.          had given me the gift of salvation!
.          And with that comes the gift of eternal life.
.          THAT is why I poured the perfume on His feet.
.          Jesus deserves everything that I have!

LAWYER 2   Okay, enough.

WOMAN      It’s never enough.                           5

LAWYER 2   Enough questions.  Thank you.  I ask the court
.          that you please disregard this answer also.

(WOMAN exits.)

LAWYER 1   Your honor, at this time, we are finished
.          calling witnesses.  I believe
.          we have given enough facts to convince
.          the judge that giving is better than getting.

JUDGE      Very well.  (to LAWYER 2)  Your witness.

LAWYER 2   Thank you.  I call to the stand:
.          PERSON from Acts chapter 2.

(PERSON enters and stands beside Judge.)

LAWYER 2   Person!  Please explain to the court,
.          what you all received after
.          the Day of Pentecost.

PERSON     I received the gift of salvation,
.          and the Holy Spirit.
.          It was the greatest moment of my life.

(PERSON looks at judge, beaming with smiles and nods.)

LAWYER 2   As I understand, these gifts are from God.
.          What about the gifts you received
.          from your fellow townsmen?

PERSON     My Christian neighbors?

LAWYER 2   Exactly.

PERSON     Well, I had fallen on hard times, and the
.          people from my church knew that I needed
.          things to help my family survive.  So,
.          they were all giving us whatever we needed.

LAWYER 2   So you also GOT things from your neighbors.
.          And how did that make you feel?

PERSON     Awesome.  Relieved.  Thankful!
.          So thankful, I started GIVING-
.                                                      6
LAWYER 2   Okay.  Asked and answered.  

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 1)  Do you have any questions
.          for this witness?

LAWYER 1   Yes, I do.  So, person from Acts chapter 2,
.          please continue with what you were saying.

LAWYER 2   Objection!  What is the question?

JUDGE      Sustained.  Did you want to rephrase that
.          into a question?

LAWYER 1   Yes, your honor.  After you got things,
.          from God and your Christian neighbors,
.          what did you do next?

PERSON     Why, I wanted to give praise and thanks
.          to God.  And, I wanted to give something back
.          to the people who had helped me.

LAWYER 1   Interesting.  Tell us more about that.

LAWYER 2   Objection!

JUDGE      Overruled.  You can keep talking.
.          This IS very interesting.

PERSON     We were all just helping each other out
.          however we could.  Serving each other
.          and giving of our time and resources.
.          I’m very good at fixing (baking) things.
.          So, well, I was happy that I could help others
.          in some way, as well as serve and
.          give back to God.

LAWYER 2   Redirect, your honor?

(JUDGE motions with a “be my guest” hand to witness.
LAWYER 1 sits down with satisfaction.)

LAWYER 2   Person, would this be true:
.          you were giving and serving
.          BECAUSE God first gave to you?

PERSON     VERY true!  Yes!  God is so awesome!
.                                                      7
LAWYER 2   Thank you.  I will now call my next witness.
.          I call to the stand Apostle Paul.)

(PERSON exits as PAUL takes the stand.
JUDGE looks at PAUL with a shy smile.)

JUDGE      Hi.  I’m a big fan.

LAWYER 2   Your honor, need I establish the fact
.          that Apostle Paul is an expert in
.          accurately handling God’s words?

JUDGE      No need.  We also know he has
.          written a pretty big portion of the Bible
.          through the inspiration that God gave to him.
.          Continue.

LAWYER 2   So, Apostle Paul, tell us, how generous
.          is God?  

PAUL       Extremely.  Jesus said, “...Ask and you will
.          receive, so that your joy may be made full.
.          For instance, “if any of you lacks wisdom,
.          let him ask of God, who gives to all
.          generously and without reproach,
.          and it will be given to him.”
.          I could keep going on and on,
.          because God gives us so much more.

LAWYER 2   I believe we do GET the idea.  Now,
.          please tell us about the specific gifts
.          that God gives to Christians.

PAUL       After receiving the gift of salvation,
.          everyone gets at least one spiritual gift
.          which is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit:
.          as apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles,
.          healing, helping, administration, tongues...

LAWYER 2   And we are to desire more gifts?

PAUL       It is good to earnestly desire
.          the greater gifts.  Yes.

LAWYER 2   Thank you.  No further questions.

JUDGE      (to LAWYER 1)  Your witness.                8

LAWYER 1   Apostle Paul, please tell us what
.          purpose these gifts SERVE?

LAWYER 2   Objection.  Leading the witness.

JUDGE      Overruled.  I will allow it.

PAUL       The gifts are for us to use
.          in order to serve God and His church.

LAWYER 1   Thank you.  No further questions.

LAWYER 2   I have a redirect, your honor!
.          Apostle Paul, did any of the churches
.          ever give money to you for support?

PAUL       Yes, the church gave to help with my needs.
.          I was most grateful for their generosity.

LAWYER 2   Thank you.

LAWYER 1   Ah, Apostle Paul.  Could you add to that?

PAUL       Of course I can, thank you!  Their generosity
.          in turn helped me give back to God.
.          To serve God, and help build up His church
.          by serving and encouraging the people.

LAWYER 2   So you cannot give unless you get.

LAWYER 1   We have to give God our hearts
.          before becoming Christians.

LAWYER 2   God gave us His only Son...

(JUDGE uses the gavel.)

JUDGE      I have heard enough!  The verdict is clear.
.          The two things are inseparable!
.          Giving and receiving go hand-in-hand.
.          When we get – we should give!  Because
.          we want to!  And this can and should happen
.          every day of the year!  Case closed!

(LAWYER 1 & 2 happily concede and shake hands.)