The Gift of Giving
It takes money to run a church, charity mission, or ministry. These non-profits are free-of-charge to attendees, but money is spent providing these resources.
For example, a church budget typically includes the following:
- 10-30% Mission Giving (outside the church)
- 20-40% Church Ministry (church programs/administration)
- 40-60% Staff Expense (payroll, pension, health, etc.)
- 20-40% Facility Expense (building costs, debt, etc.)
When we tithe, our tithes go towards things on the ministry's budget. But sometimes, that isn't enough.
Plus, this is just an example of the monetary needs of a church – not the needs of those outside the church. The Holy Spirit has given some believers the spiritual gift of giving to help meet these needs.
Let's discuss the difference between the giving all Christians are called to do and the spiritual gift of giving.
Understanding the Gift of Giving
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. – Romans 12:6-8
When Paul wrote about the different gifts, he included the gift of giving.
Gene Wilkes explains, "Members with the gift of giving give freely and joyfully to the work and mission of the body. Cheerfulness and liberality are characteristics of individuals with this gift."
Those with this spiritual gift give of their financial resources to further the church's work and spread the gospel. This spiritual gift is usually given to those with the motivation to give freely who also have the financial wisdom to do it with ease.
What the Gift of Giving Looks Like
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. – Acts 4:32-37
Plenty of people are charitable, but those with the gift of giving do it a little differently.
For one thing, they do it out of a desire to serve God and further the church. There is no personal motive. They do not seek or want recognition – often they will give anonymously.
Those with this gift typically have the ability to see needs and meet them, and they look for ways to help others in their community or around the world.
Like Barnabas, these people are willing to adjust their lifestyles in order to give money to further the message and care for those in need.
How the Gift of Giving Serves the Church
As mentioned earlier, it normally costs money to do ministry well.
Those with this gift help to keep the lights on, but their giving also goes above and beyond to bless those inside and outside the church with unique ministry opportunities.
These individuals don't give the minimum. Instead, they prayerfully give all they can to help meet needs, such as sponsoring missionaries, donating supplies, etc.
We Are All Called to Give…
It's important to understand that all believers are called to give generously. All Christians are also called to tithe. We are to recognize that everything we have comes from God and give him the first fruits of our labor.
We also want to take care of the needy.
However, as Got Questions explains, "The spiritual gift of giving or generosity is different from regularly giving an offering. Nowhere in Scripture does it indicate that only people with the spiritual gift of giving are the ones to support a ministry. From the inception of the church, the giving of financial and other physical gifts has been a part of the sense of unity God wants for His body of believers."
But We Do Not All Have the Gift of Giving
So what is the difference between all Christians and those with the spiritual gift of giving?
Those with the gift of giving go beyond the normal giving because they feel like they have been equipped and empowered to serve the church in this way.
However, this doesn't mean they are wealthy. It means they are good stewards of their money and are willing to live differently in order to give more financially to the work of the ministry and the furtherance of God’s Kingdom.
Moreover, those with the gift of giving are motivated differently. They simply give out of their heart for God and others. They are not giving in hopes of getting something in return or because they have been told to. These individuals are generous, cheerful givers.
Ways to Tell If You Have the Gift of Giving
Are you a cheerful giver? That's wonderful! You may have the spiritual gift of giving.
If you agree strongly with the following statements from the Spiritual Gifts Discovery Instruction Guide, you may have the gift of giving.
- I enjoy giving money to those in serious financial need.
- I joyfully give money to the church well above my tithe.
- I wouldn't mind lowering my standard of living to give more to the church and others in need.
- When I give money to someone, I don't expect anything in return and often give anonymously.
Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – Romans 12:13