I am not, by nature, a generous person. My spiritual gift is not giving, it’s prophet. One of my responsibilities with our church is a business administrator, of sorts. I am held responsible for accurately managing the budget, making sure we operate in business with integrity and tending to financial details to ensure we are always operating in the black. I was at a leadership conference not too long ago where the speaker referred to the church financial person as the “Judas” of the church staff. Everyone laughed…even me. I’m sure there were people who were offended by it but as I was reading scripture this morning that event came to mind and I told the Lord, “You know that speaker was joking, but he’s really right.”
We could debate Judas from a theological standpoint but this I know – he was the penny-pinching bookkeeper of his group and he operated out of greed. I don’t consider myself greedy but as the penny-pincher bookkeeper of our group it’s tempting. When giving is down, and I mean down…as in less than the weekly requirement, and someone comes to us with a need it doesn’t appear we can meet, the first thought used to be, “We can’t.” I’ve had to learn to retrain my mind to ask, “How can we?” Each time we’ve made a decision from a place of faith and generosity the outcome has been a blessing…for both parties. Conversely, when we’ve made decisions out of financial fear the outcome has been a burden. So, what does a penny-pinching bookkeeper do to ensure he/she does not follow the road of Judas?
My inspiration came from Acts 2:42-47:
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
1. I must first be devoted to the basics of my Christian walk: submitting to the authority of my pastor’s teaching, fellowshipping with other believers and prayer. Why? Because when I am committed to these things I hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit easier than when I am not. For a person who is not generous by nature, the Holy Spirit must be depended on to tell you when to give…or else it’s easy to become apathetic. There is also accountability in being committed to these things and when those who love you know you struggle with being generous, they can spur you on to good (and generous) works.
2. I must have an action plan. If I don’t look for opportunities to be generous, I will not be generous. I’m sure each believer in the early church did not have the same gift of giving…yet they worked together to sell their possession to give to the needy. Even when giving is not our spiritual gift we are not let off the hook to be givers! As our pastor says, “We give because He gave.” That should be motivation enough!
3. I must have the salvation of the lost as my motivation. I don’t have the spiritual gift of evangelism either…but I do have a burden to watch God reach down and save the lost right before my eyes…dead people, coming to life! Who wouldn’t want to see that?!?! My responsibility is to be generous with the Gospel at all times…and sometimes that means being generous in the natural to be able to lavish the spiritual on a dead person.
I’m not sure what your spiritual gift is but this I know…all believers are called to a life of generosity. I hope you will ask God to show you opportunities today to put generosity into action!