The Spiritual Gift of Giving
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
Surveys indicate that the younger generations of Christians have many spiritual giftings, such as faith, wisdom, knowledge, and mercy, but do not give as systematically and regularly to missions and ministry as their parents did.
Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Chapter Eight, seems to be addressing not just the Corinthians but current younger Christians:
“As you excel in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you– so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter, I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something– now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has– not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
‘The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.’”
– 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
In Verse 7, he says they excel in everything except the spiritual gift of generosity. Then, he shows why giving is a spiritual gift, and why we should share out of our abundance with the expectation that when we have needs, others will share out of their abundance. Thus, our giving should be spiritual, steadfast and sincere.
Paul says we should be self-motivated to give. Here are several biblical reasons. You may want to think of a lot more. For instance:
- Jesus saved you, which is a free gift.
- God blesses you every day.
- God gives you the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, discernment, prophecy, tongues, interpretation, apostleship, teaching, evangelism, pastoring, leadership, encouragement, faith, healing, miraculous powers, administration, service, giving, fruits, and mercy.
- Following Jesus sets us free.
Paul’s statements that giving was spiritual shocked the Corinthians, and often shocks Christians to this day.
Paul makes it very clear that giving can’t be commanded or forced by socialism, tyranny, statism. Giving flows out of our loving concern for others. Because we love others, we should give systematically and consistently, not an insignificant amount as an afterthought.
Of course, if we do give, God’s Word promises us many blessings here on Earth and in Heaven above.
So, if you have faith, Paul calls you to show it in your giving. If you can preach the Gospel and lead others to Christ, demonstrate your faith by giving generously. If you’re discerning and have knowledge, be eager to excel in generous giving. Of course, this applies not just to the youth of today but also to each one of us upon whom God has given the gifts of His Holy Spirit.
So, let’s excel in all spiritual gifts, including the gift of giving.
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