Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). This is a timeless truth that we need to be reminded of in our often self-centred culture. For followers of Jesus, our lives are supposed to be marked by generosity. Jesus modelled generosity throughout His life, leading to the ultimate example in His death on the cross. It is only reasonable that we should respond to God’s generosity towards us by being generous to others. So how generous are you? Are you quick to give and be a blessing to other people, organizations, churches or charities? Perhaps you can find yourself in one of the following seven kinds of givers, and prayerfully be encouraged to grow into another level of generosity.
#1 Never Givers
These are those who never give their money to anyone except themselves. Charles Dicken’s classic portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge fits this category perfectly. These people think, “I worked for my money, so I should be the only beneficiary of my money.” The sad thing is that those who live with this mindset are actually robbing themselves of the joy that comes from being a blessing to others.
#2 Not-Now Givers
The “not-now giver” likes the idea of being generous, but they don’t feel they can afford it. They cling to logic and reason and a belief that they are being good stewards. Samuel Johnson, an English writer, poet and devout Anglican once said, “the person who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything.”
Those in this group give a little bit, every once in a while. The occasional coffee or lunch purchased for a friend or a few bills donated to a local cause, leads to self-congratulations and a sufficient feeling of good will.
#4 Leftover Givers
If you didn’t finish dinner last night, you have leftovers for lunch today, right? Some people approach giving in a similar way. They occasionally give and perhaps more than many others; yet their giving only comes once all their other spending is considered done. There is generosity here, but it is more an afterthought than intentional giving.
#5 Faithful Givers
Faithful givers are those that make room to be generous in their budget. For those in this group, giving takes place at the beginning of the month rather than the end of the month. They are consistent and intentional in thinking of others, and in so doing they place the needs of others before their own. Such a person embodies the spirit of Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
#6 Generous Givers
People in this group are not content with their previous expressions of generosity. Generous givers are driven with a desire to be more generous today than they were yesterday; they are always open to the possibility of giving more so they can make a greater impact with what God has given them. The disposition of their heart is constantly joyful towards the thought of giving. Jesus said, “you cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Generous givers prove that money is not their god through their willingness to give it away.
#7 Sacrificial Givers
This final group of givers are those who are willing to give until it hurts. When Jesus draws attention to the poor widow who put the only two coins she had in the offering box, He praised her for her sacrifice (Luke 21:1-4). Sacrificial giving is not determined by how much you give, but by how much it hurts. I believe we should all experience seasons where our giving is so lavish and generous that it hurts—for it is only in situations like this that we can see our faith in action.