Tuesday, January 5, 2010


". . .if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously;" (Romans 12:8, NIV)

As I take you through the Motivational Gift of giving, remember that even though you may have scored low in this gift it does not relieve you of practicing giving.  It only means that it does not color your every thought or inspire your every action.  The same holds true for every motivational gift.  

This is the MOST fascinating gift to me.  Givers are SO interesting.  Maybe I just feel this way about Givers because I'm not one and I wish I was one!  I have known many, many people with this motivational gift and have watched them at work.  My husband and I have been the recipient of this gift at work more than a few times in our life.  It's AWESOME! (albeit humbling!)  We've received money, groceries, gas. . . oh, gosh, just to name a few things.  My husband has even been the recipient of a guitar or two throughout the years due to Givers.  Having said that, it's important that you know that he has also learned to give his own guitars away.  There a lot of struggling guitar players out there -- there's always someone who needs a guitar.  When discussing the importance of learning to be a giver with him the other day he said this, "My first nature, my human nature, wants to hoard but the godly nature is to give away."

If you scored high in the Motivational Gift of Giving then here's some things you should know about yourself.  You see all of your material belongings and monetary wealth as belonging to God -- only on loan to you.  You don't just SAY it all belongs to God like the rest of us, you KNOW it belongs to God.  You are frugal.  You are responsible with your money and manage it well.  You probably have an innate ability to make money.  You may not be wealthy but you still probably out-give everyone else because you give (or are at least willing to give) everything you have.  Money does not cause you stress because you KNOW that God will provide.  You are charitable and generous and loving because you care about people and their needs.  You probably have a heart for missionaries and financially support several of them.  You are very aware of the financial need of the church.  You like your gift (large or small) to be of high quality.  You are organized, have a good self-control and an adequate self-image.  If the Holy Spirit is not allowed to be in control of your gift, however, you can become controlling of your money and prideful of your giving.  You have a tendency to think that everyone should be giving like you do.  It is important to remember that although we are ALL called to give, we are NOT all called to give like you give.  Scripture gives many important directives regarding giving.  Here are two of them: "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:3-4, NIV)  "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7, NIV) 

Albeit not essential for a happy marriage, it is likely that your spouse has the same gift.  If not, however, and you've wondered why your husband keeps giving away his stuff or large sums of money or why your wife gives away the entire grocery budget from time to time to someone she deems in greater need. . .well, this is probably why. 

Givers give in lots of different ways.  Some live on very, very little because they give everything they have or else they keep everything they have set aside to give to the next person in need; and, you'd never know they have so much.  And, although it may look like God is not blessing their giving because of how they live, be careful to remember that people with this gift aren't looking for more blessing and blessing comes in more ways than material wealth.  Others are clearly blessed with more and more wealth BECAUSE they are so willing to give it out.  Some Givers take this gift super, super seriously while others seemingly fly by the seat of their pants.  When my youngest daughter, Annie, still in college at the time, found out about the plight of one of her classmates having to leave school a couple months early due to a lack of funds she quickly called us with her plan.  Having only a couple more months of the school year left, Annie had a very limited amount of money left in her account -- $600.00 to be exact, but she immediately started making plans to give it all to her friend.  Being less than enthusiastic about her plan we managed to advise her to pray about it for a couple of days and we would too.  God provided for that young man in a different way and Annie was able to keep her money to finish out the year.  You may be saying, "Wait!  This story doesn't really count because nothing was really given away."  I share this story with you because of how it affected me at the time.  Ultimately, her dad and I would have had to find a way to see her through the rest of the year had she given away that money.  The point is that Annie was ready to give all she had left in a moments notice because that's how Givers are.  I was not ready for her to do that and instead of faith washing over me, fear and stress flooded in.  Givers always have a lot to teach me about the way I live out my faith.  Givers stand ready to give with no concern for their own needs.  Some look for significant ways to give that will change a person's life in significant ways like giving a car or other large items that are difficult to afford.  Others are on the look out all day long for ways to meet smaller needs like a tank of gas or bag of groceries or that extra cash in their wallet for the homeless guy on the corner.  No matter how it manifests, it is God-directed and needed at the time for the recipient.

As I said earlier, I've known many people with the Motivational Gift of Giving.  I have many examples that I could share (already having shared one about my daughter) but I'm going to limit it to 2.  There was a woman I knew a long time ago.  Whenever I saw her out and about during the week she would do things like shove a twenty dollar bill into my pants pocket or hand me some little item she just bought because she thought I could use it.  It was always appreciated and although these were not large items and it certainly didn't happen every week. . . it was always appreciated.

Let's look at an example from Scripture: the story of the widow's mite -- she was the quintessential Giver!  "As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  'I tell you the truth,' He said, 'this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.' "  (Luke 21:1-4, NIV)  This is a great example of a Giver because, though she had practically nothing, Jesus says that she gave more than anyone else.  Her gift cost her everything...literally, everything.  There is no indication that she struggled over giving it or that it caused her any turmoil at all.  Jesus was simply pleased with her gift!  She must have felt that it could help others far more than it would help her.  She must have KNOWN beyond any doubt (because I would have doubt) that God was just as capable of using that tiny amount in a huge way as He was of using a very large gift as He was of giving back to her to meet her needs.  Givers just KNOW these things!  Understand that this story is not about giving from your abundance.  There is no sin in having wealth or abundance.  In fact, if you fit into that category then you have been given all you have for generosity's sake.  This story is about the heart.  Givers give because they cannot NOT give.  The widow in this story was just as generous as those who give out of their abundance.  This story should teach us at least two things: 1) we do not have to have a lot to give in order to give well; and, 2) it reinforces the idea that we cannot buy the love of God.

If you scored high in the Motivational Gift of Giving here's what you need to do.  First, even you can't give to everything and everyone.  Be selective and led by the Holy Spirit so that where God calls you to give, you can give really, really well.  This is not to say that He hasn't called you to give to several things at once, it just means that because your heart is so motivated this way you may feel compelled to try to save the world with your giving.  Unless you're a go-zillionaire, and that's doubtful, trying to give to everything will only leave you feeling inadequate as a Giver.  Second, remember that it is God who has planted this exceptional motivation in you and He provides everything you have (this truth holds true for everyone of us!).  It will do you no good at all to take pride in your giving.  If you are going to boast, boast in the Lord!  Also, trying to control where, when, to whom and how much you give will leave you suspicious, untrusting and empty.  And, although it's important to you that your gift is used properly, you cannot control that part of it either.  If you're certain God has called you to give to something or someone, give it cheerfully and let it go.  You are only responsible for giving what God has directed you to give not for the how the recipient uses it.  If you feel any of this developing in you then get on your knees and God will take it from there.  Third, if you are the type of Giver who is called to give a gift like a car or a house or something of that nature, then I cannot stress enough how important it is to check back in with the recipient to see if they are able to handle the extra financial burden it might be bringing into their life.  The reason the recipient doesn't have the car or the house in the first place is because they cannot afford it so affording the upkeep or extra expense it ALWAYS takes to own something like that might be more than they can handle.  Even if you have to check back in with them through another source so as to keep your giving private, then so be it.  That's easy to accomplish.  You can go through a Pastor or friend.  Fourth, pay no attention to how others give or whether they give.  You have much to teach the rest of us in this area and your example and encouragement is essential!  When you can, bring others in on your giving and allow them the opportunity to give with you.  Sometimes the rest of us just need a little help and direction regarding where and to whom to give.  Although God makes all of us aware of the needs around us, He is most likely speaking to you about specific ways to give.  So . . . HELP!

For generosity's sake,

NOTE:  The description of each gift is based on the highest score possible for an individual.  You may find that only certain things are true for you and the rest is only true to a certain measure.  We are individuals created by an infinitely creative God.  We do not fit any certain mold.  These descriptions help you to understand why you see things a certain way, why you act a certain way and why some things are more important to you than other things.  Most of us will score fairly high in 2 or 3 gifts and how these gifts rank and what God has you involved in at the time will determine how well these gift descriptions speak to your individual personality.


Annie Schrader said...

I hope I've honed this gift in a little since then. :)

Kerry said...

You honored then and you definitely honor it now!