I n my 40 plus years as a Christian, I have observed that most discussions of spiritual gifts tend to focus on the more sensational gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12: 8-10: gifts such as working miracles, tongues, prophecy, special knowledge and healing. However, I have rarely heard believers dig into the more ordinary gifts of service, encouragement, giving, kindness and leadership described Romans 12: 6-8. I wonder why. Could it be that we prefer being zapped with some supernatural manifestation of God’s spirit to simply doing what we already know we should be doing? Are we more intrigued by a spiritual experience than we are in serving others? Is it all about us? I wonder. Because we overlook the Romans gift list, and because God is a generous gift giver, it is quite likely that many of us have spiritual gifts that we do not acknowledge. Think about it: servers are faithful and loyal; encouragers know how to motivate others; givers are generous and trusting; leaders are good organizers and managers; and those who show kindness are caring people who are happy to give their time to others. If any of these attributes describe you, it is time to recognize that your Heavenly Father has singled you out and bestowed the accompanying gift on you. By doing so, we not only take focus off of ourselves, but we reflect it to God, the giver of all gifts. Therefore, if you are generous and trusting, you can be sure that you have been given the gift of giving. “But…is it possible to have the gift of giving even if I don’t feel generous and trusting?” I believe it is. For most of my life, I have not been a big spender (some call me “tight"). During my working years, I always carried a lunch from home instead of blowing money at a restaurant. Even now, I order water with a meal because I cringe at the thought of paying $1.75 for a glass of tea. You get the idea. This frugality has helped me be a decent money manager, but that same trait has, without me realizing it, prevented me from being as generous as I could be or should be. However, in recent years, something has been changing inside me — something that can’t be explained apart from God’s sovereignty: I have been feeling more generous. Furthermore, when I act on that feeling of generosity, I find that I feel even more generous, which brings on even more giving and results in a deep inner peace and contentment. Does all this mean I have the gift of giving? It certainly seems to. God isn’t limited to giving us gifts when we are young. If He decides to give an old guy like me a gift, I am not going to fight it. Yes, I wish I would have been more giving in my younger days, but that didn’t happen and I can’t turn back time. However, I am at a time in my life when I am enthused about the giving opportunities He is providing me with. I am excited, as I enter my sunset years, to see how the Lord stretches me to be a better and better giver.
How about you?
All of us, of course, are called by God to be givers. However, not all of us are specially gifted by God to be extraordinary givers. I do not write this to guilt you into a mold you don’t fit. However, I challenge you to keep your options open. The gift of giving could be lying dormant within you. Or, whatever your age, God may choose to bestow this gift on you.
The greatest gift
In my opinion, giving is the greatest spiritual gift any of us could ever have. Why? Because God himself is a giver…He gave the world His only son. By giving us a gift of giving, He is making us more and more like Himself.
What could be better than that?