Summary: The Spiritual Gift of GIVING is the gift of Graceful Generosity.
Romans 12 8b, 2 Cor. 8: 1-7
Today we look at another spiritual gift in Romans 12:8b: “He who gives, with liberality.”
“A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson so she gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church: "Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. "Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the pastor said that we should all be cheerful givers and I knew I'd be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did." (Children’s message/Bits & Pieces, February 4, 1993, p. 23)
Now it is quite understandable that a child would have such misgivings about 2 Corinthians 9:7, where it says: “God loves a cheerful giver.” We’re going to spend a few minutes looking at the aspects of the gift of giving. We look at 2 Corinthians 8: 1-7 for an excellent illustration:
“Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. (same word that is in our text) 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God…7 But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.”
The gift of God’s grace and Spirit had been given to these impoverished and war torn churches in northern Greece…and yet their GIVING to those in need stands as a monument in Church History. Graceful giving is Proportionate Generosity, but what is it in proportion TO?
Mark 12:41:“Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury ; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on." (Her giving was not proportionate to her wealth, was it? She only had a little, but gave all. Her giving was proportionate to her life: She gave everything, whereas others only gave out of their surplus.)
In the same way today in the Church, it is not uncommon for people with the Gift of Giving to testify to give far in excess of their Biblical tithe. It’s their experience that the more they give to God, the more God blesses them so that they are able to give again. (I AM NOT saying that they become rich because they give more than they have to. God blesses them with MORE to give because they have the Godly and Spiritual sense to give it where it is needed I have known several people in my lifetime who were very successful businessmen but who were paupers in this world’s goods. One husband and wife had 5 children of their own and adopted and fostered a dozen more and lived in little more than a shack and drove a 15 yr. old car.)
Here is a principle of proportionate generosity: Your giving is proportionate to your Resources. Be careful here! You can’t give MORE than you have, but most of the time, you can give more than you do. How did the Macedonian churches give BEYOND their ability? 2 Cor. 8:5 says ”they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” Giving to the needy, and especially to other Christians in need is the result of God’s Grace. God provides the grace, the resources and the willingness to use them as He sees fit. Your giving is proportionate to the gift of God’s Grace and Your Gratitude to Him for what He has given. It is according to the measure of faith and grace given to you.
2 Cor 9:7: Each one must do just as he has purposed (chosen beforehand or beforetime) in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed ; 9 as it is written, "HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER." (I couldn’t help but think of the Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit for THEIRS is the Kingdom of Heaven- poor in the things of this world, destitute spiritually, but find a righteousness, not of their own, but of the Lord Jesus!)