How many of you would describe yourselves as generous?
Are you one of those people who is always happy to lend your ‘stuff’ to friends? Your clothes, books, car or even money? You don’t mind because you trust your friends to give it back or maybe you’re not even that bothered if they do or not, they’re friends. Or maybe you are always the one who is always quick to pay for the coffee and cake on a trip out with mates and consider it a pleasure to treat your friends.
But, did you know that there is a spiritual gift of giving?
It goes way beyond what we might consider to be regular generosity like those things mentioned above.
The people with this gift are joyful in giving and sharing what they have with others even when they give away a large portion of what they have. This might be money, material goods or simply time and attention, an especially precious commodity indeed in our overly busy lives.
Now, as Christians we are all called to be generous with what we have because at the end of the day it all comes from God anyway and isn’t really ours, but simply on loan to us. We are more like ‘caretakers’ of what God gives us and how we steward our stuff says a lot about our heart and how much we trust God to provide for us.
Deuteronomy 16:17 – “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.”
When it comes to money and possessions trust seems to be a big thing. When we don’t trust God as our provider it can affect the way we handle our finances as we can hold on too tightly, afraid that we might go short in some way and this includes our regular giving into church life or ‘tithing’ as it’s called in the bible. But, if we think about it from the perspective of a son or daughter, because that’s who we are, it releases us to be much more generous with what we have because we don’t live in fear of not having what we need.
Matthew 6:26. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”
When we understand how much God loves us as a son or daughter we can put our giving into perspective. If we think about our own earthly parents who often go over and above to provide for us before they even think of their own needs (because that’s what parents do), why would our heavenly father be any different. I know if my boys need anything (there is a big difference between need and want by the way as all parents know) then I would do what I could to provide it, even if it meant going short of something myself.
Anyway, back to those people who are called to radically give to the ‘church’ to advance God’s work in the local community, city or even into other nations. Sometimes they are placed in industries and business where they have the potential to earn substantial salaries, not to line their own pockets but to be radically generous with. Others are just amazing at saving and live a very conservative life in terms of their own spending and don’t usually impulse buy (I clearly am not one of these types). They tend to be good at saving and preventing wastes of resources and money in their own life and workplace.
They steward what they have been given incredibly well and usually hold themselves accountable to others. They are good at not incurring debt and don’t usually spend more than they earn. They can often be good at motivating others to give too.
God makes these people aware of areas where he wants them to invest their time and money and always for his glory. People with the gift of giving don’t give with any ulterior motive in mind and don’t expect to get anything back but do it willingly because that is what they are called to. They often give anonymously and don’t want to be in the limelight.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 – “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”
Do any of these traits sound familiar?
Maybe you have never considered your giving to be a spiritual gift.
As always I am giving you a link to a Spiritual Gift test so if you’re not sure at the moment where your giftings are this can point you towards your area of gifting. Remember this is not the definitive answer but it will point you in the right direction. Talk to God about it, friends and people at church who may have seen potential gfting in you.
I heard a brilliant talk on Radical Givers by Simon Holley, who is one of the leaders at a great church called Kings Arms in Bedford. If you are interested and want to hear more on this subject I have included a link.
Whether you have this gift or not, we are called to give. So enjoy some happy giving this week to those around you.
Other Gifts of the Spirit in this series: