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40 Years of Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof

Monday, May 13, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Temple
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By Greg Stein (CCNY, '70)

templespring2013But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great... (Luke 6:35)

It  was at the 1973 Atlanta convention that I proposed changing the fraternity’s motto from "Loyalty to God and College” to "Give, expecting nothing thereof”. I had come across it in a college Economics textbook in 1969 as a footnote describing religious lending practices. It was quoting an inscription on a pottery shard found in a Christian catacomb in Rome. It left a strong impression and I remembered it. I thought it was apropos as a motto knowing both predecessor fraternities, Phi Kappa and Theta Kappa Phi, identified with  the early Christians, a discriminated minority in a hostile environment. It must have had the same immediate impact on the delegates, because to my surprise, it passed unanimously. Little did I know of its real origins, power and influence.

It was only years later that I found out its true source in the gospel of Luke, "But love your enemies and do good and lend, expecting nothing in return and your reward will be great”. It is in perfect consonance with the purpose of the American college fraternity system and is in total harmony with the rest of Luke’s interpretation of Christ’s message.

It is widely recognized that the author of Luke’s gospel and "The Acts of the Apostles” is the same person. Of the early Christians, Luke wrote” Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

templespring2013For Collegiates - It is the essence of the fraternity to be a sharing, caring community, and this, more than anything else differentiates us from a college dorm and should be the focus of our selling points. Good chapters understand that sacrifice for the common good is a requirement of their success. The motto symbolizes this spirit. It is the antithesis of too many others who ask ‘What’s in it for me?’, let me accumulate material possessions and play zero sum games, benefitting at another’s expense. As Luke points out elsewhere” To whom much is given, much is expected.” (Luke 12:48b)

As an Alumnus - Our ideals should be a seamless cloth that carry over beyond our undergraduate years. The concept of servant leader embodies our motto. The challenge for alumni is to broaden our concept of brotherhood beyond the walls to our family, friends and community. The motto encourages us to incorporate compassion in our lives, to have a social responsibility. Luke backs up our motto with 3 stories.  Christ brings back to life the widow of Nain’s son, because He knows full well that in the absence of a social net, the loss of her bread winner is a life of destitution, homelessness and hunger. "And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her…”  (Luke 7:13) Two of Christians’ favorite bible stories are the Good Samaritan,” But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion…” (Luke 10:33), and the Prodigal Son, "But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion…” (Luke 15:20).

templespring2013Ritual - Our coat of arms and associate member pin both have a sun. Coincidentally, I cannot think of a better symbol for our motto. It serves as a daily reminder to our newest members and an inspiration to our older ones.

Oddly enough, if you use a search engine and enter ‘give expecting nothing thereof’ Luke doesn’t pop up; St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of students and the fraternity does. He is also credited with this quote,” Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get; it’s what you are expected to give-which is everything.”

All Readers - Please share your reflections on the impact and influence our motto has had as a motivator to a specific act in your life, by e-mailing temple@phikaps.org. (All quotes are from the Revised Standard Version)

Read this story and many more from the Spring 2013 issue of the Temple Magazine.

1st Image: A painting depicting The Good Samaritan.
2nd Image:
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (Catholic University, ‘A) donating blood shortly after 9/11. Giving, expecting nothing thereof.
3rd Image: The associate member pin of Phi Kappa Theta.

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