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Giving Doesn't Come Naturally

Do you realize that giving is a spiritual gift? The apostle Paul lists giving among several other gifts (Romans 12:8). The fact that giving is listed alongside these other gifts helps us to better understand the gift of giving by analogy.

The first point is that the gift of giving is something that we have received from God. Not everybody has the desire, ability, or resources to give. You may have a brother or sister in the same financial situation that you are in, but they have no desire to give. You may know people in your congregation who are perhaps in a better position financially to give, but they don’t. So why do some people give generously and others don’t? It is because giving itself is a spiritual gift from God. For most people giving does not come easy. It is in fact very difficult. That you would even have the heart to give comes from the Lord.

It is for this reason that we cannot boast in our giving. When we recognize that the desire, ability, and resources to give come from the Lord, how can we take credit for something given to us? This is in fact not only true of the gift of giving, but all the spiritual gifts listed. This is why Paul says, “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think” (Rom 12:3). I believe what is lying behind this statement is the natural tendency in any community to compare ourselves with others, to be prone to jealousy, or to boast—if not with our words then certainly in our hearts.

We are reminded that the use of these gifts are expressions of faith. This is key even in our giving. Just as we would not want our preaching to be works-righteous based, so also we don’t want our giving to be works-righteous based. We do not give because we want to get something from God, because we feel guilty, because we want to earn his favor, or the favor of men. We give as an expression of faith, an expression of gratitude for all that He has lavishly poured upon us in the gospel. 


Dr. Lloyd Kim is the coordinator of Mission to the World. 

Lloyd Kim, Giving Reflection May 30, 2017
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