Saturday, December 13, 2008

Spiritual Gifts pt12: Giving

By Bill Gothard

Who in Scripture best illustrates the motivational gift of giving?

* Matthew

What guidelines are given for the gift of giving in Romans 12:13?

* Giving to needs of Christians
* Practice hospitality

What basic principle does the giver most need to exercise?

* Ownership

Why is this true?

* It allows the giver the freedom to respond to God’s direction.


* Able to see resources

A giver has an ability to discern wise investments. His motivation is to use assets of time, money, and possessions to advance the work of the Lord. If a person with the gift of giving has limited funds, he is still able to use his ability of recognizing available resources and draw upon them when needed.

* Invest self with gift

A giver needs continuous reassurance that his decisions are in God’s will whether he has little or much to give. To achieve this, he will first give himself and then his gift to the Lord. Since all believers must practice giving, Paul explained how the Macedonians “…first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

* Desire to give high quality

The giver’s ability to discern value motivates him to provide quality gifts. He wants them to last. Matthew recorded in greater detail than any other Gospel writer the gifts given to Christ. He is the only writer who mentioned “the treasures” brought by the Magi; he described Mary’s ointment as “very precious,” and Joseph’s tomb as “new.” (See Matthew 2:11; 26:6-11; and 27:57-60)

* Hope gift answer prayer

A giver who is in fellowship with the Lord will be prompted to give even when a need is not obvious. His ultimate confirmation that his gift was according to God’s will comes when he learns that it fulfilled an unknown need or answered a special prayer.

* Desire to give secretly

Just as the giver looks to the Lord for direction, so he wants recipients to look to the Lord for provision. The giver knows that future reward is more valuable than present praise, thus he will give quietly and often anonymously. Matthew is the only Gospel writer who emphasizes secret giving. (See Matthew 6:1-4)

* Concern that giving will corrupt

A mature giver understands the destructiveness of the love of money. He is very aware that the disciples that God taught him in acquiring assets may not have been learned by those who need his assistance. Therefore, he looks for ways of giving which avoid dependency, slothfulness, or extravagance.

* Exercise personal thriftiness

The personal assets which the giver has are often the result of consistent personal frugality while being content with basics. A giver will always be concerned in getting the best buy, not with how much he has left. He will spend extra effort in saving money and being merciful with what he has.

* Use gifts to multiply giving

The motivation of a giver is to encourage others to give. He wants them to experience the joy
and spiritual growth that comes by sacrificial giving. Thus, the giver may provide matching funds or the last payment in order to encourage others to give.

* Confirm amount with counsel

A giver reacts to pressure appeals. He looks instead for financial needs which others tend to overlook. A husband who has the gift of giving will often confirm the amount that he should give by seeing if his wife has the same amount in mind.


* Hoarding resources for self

An effective use of the gift of giving depends upon having the fear of the Lord. One way we learn the fear of the Lord is by regular giving. It was for this purpose that the tithe was established. (See Deuteronomy 14:22-23) If a giver stops exercising his gift, he will not only begin to lose the fear of the Lord, but his storing up will cause him to become stagnant.

* Using gift to control people

A giver has a desire to make sure that his gifts are wisely invested and used. Thus, he will often buy a good quality item rather than giving the money for it. However, if items are purchased or projects are sponsored by a giver, he may be viewed as using his gifts to control lives and ministries.

* Forcing higher living standards

If a giver’s focus is more on the quality of the gift than the need that it is meeting, he can cause the receiver to be dissatisfied with the quality of other things which he owns. A giver could also excuse personal luxuries on the basis that he is generous with his money. However, when he is not faithful in little, God will not trust him with much.

* Feeling guilty about personal assets

A giver who is not in fellowship with the Lord will begin to feel guilt as he stores up funds. Even if he is preparing for a special need, he must have the reassurance from the Lord that his plans are according to God’s will.

* Rejecting pressure appeals

If a giver reacts to all appeals for funds and looks only for the hidden and unannounced needs, he may fail to get the mind of the Lord in a particular situation. He may also miss an important opportunity to give wise counsel as well as needed funds to a worthy ministry.

* Giving too sparingly to family

The frugality of a giver is often extended to his own wife and children. However, if he does not show the same concern, care, and delight in meeting their needs as he does others, they will react to his generosity. By listening to the Lord and the counsel of his wife, he will avoid the damaging consequences of unwise gifts or investments.

* Giving to projects vs. people

If a giver loses his focus on meeting the needs of people, he may be unduly attracted to projects. His desire for measuring value may prompt him to build a “memorial to his generosity.” The emphasis of Scriptural giving is distributing to the necessity of saints. Paul’s collection was for the needy Christians.

* Causing people to look to him vs. God

When a giver lets others know what he is giving, he will cause many to turn their attention from the Lord to him. He also runs the danger of attracting carnal Christians with wrong motives. These people are trained to appeal to his human inclinations and extract funds which were not directed by the Lord.

* Waiting too long to give

If a giver is not instantly obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, he may lose the joy of seeing God accomplish a miraculous provision through him. The one who was to receive the gift will also be denied the opportunity of seeing God provide funds precisely when needed.


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