When you think about giving what comes to mind? When you are asked to give your fair share what do you think is being asked of you?
Most think of money, the amount payable on the check they write. And, of course, money is needed. The church and charities need money to provide services to the saints in need and the community’s poor, and to pay salaries, rent, utilities, all the basic expenses incurred.
Then there is the question of how much we are expected to give. If everyone gave a tithe of ten percent of what we have then we would all be giving basically the same. We would be giving the same percentage of what is in our pockets.
We may, also, think of things we can give. Food to a food bank; blankets, clothes, and toiletries to a homeless shelter; clothes, diapers, formula, toys and books to a women and children crisis center; pet supplies and food to an animal shelter. Many, if not most, of us have more than we need or will ever really use and giving to the less fortunate is not a great sacrifice.
There is, I believe, another way we are to give. When we receive the Holy Spirit we are given His gifts. We are all blessed with these gifts but not all are given the same portion of each gift. Some could be strongly gifted in one area such as teaching or mercy and less in discernment or hospitality, others may be largely gifted in healing or service and less in leadership. We are all blessed the same and yet, differently.
If we are to give to others part of what we are blessed with then is it not reasonable that we are to give a portion of our spiritual gifts to others?
The Lord thinks so:
…giving a freewill offering in proportion the blessings the Lord your God has given you.
Deuteronomy 16:10 niv
The church in Macedonia understood, it is a privilege to give of what we have be it money or things or spiritual gifts.
….they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
2 Corinthians 8:4 niv
How we give of what we have is as important as the sharing of our blessings. We are to give not just because we are commanded to do this but that we have decided in our heart to do so, willingly, without guilt or outside pressure, and not reluctantly, but cheerfully.
…make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in giving.
2 Corinthians 9:7 niv
This is what pleases God.
I wonder if I have ever “urgently pleaded” to share what I have?
I wonder what gifts, in particular spiritual gifts, I have been stingy with?