The Gift of Giving
By Charles F. Stanley
Do you respond immediately to a need by saying, "What can I do? How can I help solve this need?" You may have the gift of giving.
A person in the Bible who exemplifies the gift of giving is Matthew. There are several reasons I believe Matthew had this gift. First, he has more to say in general about giving than any other New Testament writer.
Second, he offers more wise counsel about giving, and he is the only one who makes the statement that our giving should be done in "secret." And third, he is the one who addresses the issue of misuse of money and resources. As you look at the Gospel of Matthew, you will find a great deal of information about money, finances, material possessions and the proper use of our resources.
The ministry of the gift of giving has the following ten characteristics:
1. The person with a motivational gift of giving generally has a keen ability to make wise investments and purchases in order to have more money to give. Many people are bargain hunters and wise investors. The person with the gift of giving, however, seeks to save and to invest in order to have more to give. Many bargain hunters desire to save money so they can spend the savings on themselves; the person who is a "giver" desires to spend the savings on the work of the Lord. The person with the gift of giving is usually eager to motivate others to give.
2. The person with the gift of giving has a desire to give quietly, and not call attention to himself. Persons with a gift of giving are not motivated by applause or public recognition. They find their satisfaction in making the gift. In fact, their total emphasis is on meeting the need, not on having others acknowledge that they have met the need.
3. Those with this gift often do not respond to great pressure to give, or to ardent appeals by professional fund-raisers. They want to give out of their own inner motivation, not from outward pressure. They are turned off by high-pressure tactics. They often respond readily, however, to simple requests from those who obviously are in need.
4. The person with the gift of giving is usually eager to motivate others to give. The person desires so greatly that a need be met that he will challenge others around him - regardless of their financial situation - to give what they can. The person also knows the value of giving, that there is a cycle to giving that includes receiving. The giving-receiving cycle is motivating and rewarding, and the person with the gift of giving knows this cycle personally, and desires that others experience it. The person with the gift of giving rejoices when he perceives that his giving is an answer to someone else's prayer.
5. The person with the gift of giving often has an ability to see financial and material needs that others overlook. He is quick to calculate how much is needed, when it will be needed, and how resources might best be applied to meeting the need.
6. The person with the gift of giving often judges others on the basis of their giving. He regards stewardship over material possessions and finances as being indicative of a person's ability to be a good steward of spiritual matters.
7. The person with the gift of giving rejoices when he perceives that his giving is an answer to someone else's prayer. Those with this gift delight in being the tools that the Lord has used. They rejoice because they have added assurance that they heard correctly from the Lord. They rejoice that a legitimate need has been met. They rejoice that the faith of another person has been activated and built up. The person with a gift of giving always wants to be right on target when it comes to sensing needs and responding as the Lord leads.
8. The person with the gift of giving relies upon the wise counsel of his spouse. Those with this gift are so concerned about being good stewards that they look for confirmation that they are acting in obedience to the Lord. If the Lord is dealing with one godly person about making a gift to meet a need, He will deal likewise with the godly spouse about the gift.
9. The person with the gift of giving desires to give gifts of high quality. He or she does not look for the cheapest or most meager way to meet a need. Rather, the giver wants to give in abundance and quality, just as he perceives the Lord has given to him in abundance and quality.
10. Persons with the gift of giving take joy in being a part of the ministry of the person to whom they have given. When a giver makes a material gift, he feels as if he is giving a part of himself. He feels "personally invested" in the ministry or the life of the person to which he has given. Being part of another person's success brings the giver joy.
Jesus, of course, is our role model for sacrificial, joyful, and purposeful giving. No person has ever given as Jesus gave, for He gave His very life on the cross so that you and I might have eternal life. The person who has the motivational gift of giving has a tremendous opportunity to be a blessing to others in the body of Christ, to encourage others in the proper use of their finances, and to make the extension of the Gospel possible.
Characteristics of someone with the gift of giving:
- Thrifty - they will spend their money wisely, not wasting money that could otherwise be used for ministry purposes.
- Resourceful - they will find a way to see a need met.
- Contented - they will be content with what they have.
- Punctual - they recognize that it is better to meet a need quickly than to allow a need to grow into an even greater need that requires more resources.
- Tolerant - they can often "give and take" in areas where others sometimes find it difficult to be flexible.
- Cautious - They often research carefully their investments.
- Thankful - They appreciate what they have and are grateful when they are used by God to meet a need.