Gift of Giving - Supercharged!
What percentage of believers have the gift of giving? Perhaps 1 in 5?
If so, what would it be like if 1 out of 5 people brought a few extra dollars to church every week and blessed someone with money for coffee or gas?
How would this transform church culture? Would it result in better, more fulfilling relationships?
As Carmen and I practice the habit of imparting small amounts of money, we've discovered that it does, indeed, enrich those around us and transform our church experience. It is fun, not burdensome. It turns out, the act of giving to others is worth more than its weight in gold.
Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the church "Builds itself up in love, as each part does its work". For those of us with the gift of giving, that verse is a promise that our money, whether small or great, makes people feel loved, and contributes to a loving environment.
Not only that but Romans 12 describes the gift of giving as a 'Charisma', the Greek word for grace... the same Greek word that is the source of the gift of prophesy and other spiritual gifts.
If we follow the logic of this thought, we must come to the conclusion that if one is operating in the gift of giving, a dollar bill becomes a container of God's grace. The grace associated with this 'charisma' gift breaks out on the receiver, manifesting in all sorts of awesome and wonderful delight, not the least of which is stirring up love in our hearts for one another. Carmen have found this to be true. And so have many others.
Our friend Tudor surprised us one Sunday when he handed everyone in our prayer circle a twenty dollar bill and then prayed for our provision. We could all feel his kind intention and brotherly love! His only motive was to bless us by this generous act of giving. Carmen and I were greatly moved by his sincerity and so were the others that received his gift. We all felt loved. His generosity had knit our hearts together.
As we prepare for the influx of a billion new babies, we must prepare ourselves. And what better way to do it than to get in the habit of blessing those who sit next to us in church with enough money for bus fare, or the latest CD. Hey, I want a donut or a chocolate bar. That would make me happy!
The coming Great Harvest will require a great demonstration of love. And no one loves more unconditionally than a parent. Natural parents give and give and give... and give. And so do spiritual parents.
Carmen and I have found that loving others is far easier and more fulfilling when we see people through the lens of a mom or dad. Taking on the identity of mom and dad opens our hearts for self sacrifice.
As you embrace the identity of a spiritual parent, you'll find that it diminishes selfishness and releases you to be more generous with those around you. Very important for someone with the gift of giving!
However; be aware that this shift in identity must be premeditated and not left to take place on it's own. Becoming a spiritual mom or dad is an act of the will. It requires a decision and a commitment to intentionally embrace the idea that you are now ready to take on more responsibility. And that is the call.
In 1st Corinthians 4:15, 16, the Apostle Paul said "I became your father through the Gospel, therefore be imitators of me". The call to take on the parental mantle is not new!
Many people wonder, how do I become a spiritual mom or dad? Is this position reserved for those I personally lead to Christ? The answer is no.
Becoming a spiritual mom or dad is not a position you obtain through performance. It is an identity. If you have been waiting for some mystical transformation or event to take place before seeing yourself as a spiritual mom or dad, consider this word of encouragement as permission. You are hereby called and commissioned to start acting like a spiritual mom or dad with every person you meet.
God is desiring that we all rise up and take our position as spiritual moms and dads to the many. If we do so, we will see church culture radically transformed by demonstrations of love and self sacrifice not heretofore seen in the church.
O.K. God, I'm ready!
We've been good sons and daughters. Now let us be great moms and dads, because harvest is coming!