Some of my favorite people are givers. They just seem to know how to have fun and for a sanguine exhorter like myself, fun is a necessity of life. In fact, if I could choose a redemptive gift for myself, I would have wished for that of a giver. They know how to get things done and so many of their plans come to fruition. Behaviorally, however, givers often have a hard time figuring out what their redemptive gifting really is. They don’t fit into categories easily.
But like the other giftings, you can always count on one or two giveaways. The main giveaway for the givers is that they are generational thinkers. It isn’t their own generation that they are concerned with necessarily, but those that will come after them. Abraham was a prime example. Wealthy and with a guarantee of peace and security from God, he still longed for a son. God made givers keenly aware of posterity and so their focus is not on their own needs but on the needs of future generations.
Givers tend to entrepreneurial. Generally, you will find givers creating income streams for themselves and for their families. This gift is usually associated with the fifth day of creation, the day when all the birds of the air and fishes of the sea multiplied. And multiplication seems to bless everything givers put their hands to. And givers know how to keep busy.
The reason for this is stewardship. Givers truly understand the importance of preservation and caretaking. The mercy gift is often messy, the teacher gift sometimes can bring clutter, but the givers undertake maintenance with serious intent and it seems to come easily to them. Order is important to them and they are willing to put in whatever it takes to maintain it.
Interestingly, all of the giftings tend to pair with another, except for the giver. Mercy tends to revolve around prophets, rulers seek out servants, and the teacher and exhorter love to bicker. But the giver stands alone. This independence is both a strength and a weakness. God made givers to be problem solvers and quick to fix areas that need repair. But sometimes this independence means they do not bring their needs to God. Used to playing the role of provider, acting the supplicant does not come easily to them.
Many givers nurture well. They know how to lend support when it is needed, both to their family and to others. But because God has blessed givers with seeing opportunities that others don’t and multiplication that sometimes defies reality, an immature giver can lack empathy for the poor. A giver likes to donate money to a sure thing; their natural savviness and intuition resist giving to seemingly lost causes. This can interfere with their ability to hear God’s will in their giving. God often backs seemingly hopeless cases.
The giver can be too frugal at times, usually with his or her own family. I think of Warren Buffet, a natural giver if there ever was one. He is one of the wealthiest men in the world and he and his wife live in a very modest home. If she is on board with it, that’s great. If not, I wouldn’t blame her if she wanted more control over where she lives and how she spends money.
The core wound of the giver is that they only feel legitimate if they are needed by others. It is easy for a giver to pour his or her identity into what they are able to do for others. This, like all core lies, separates them from understanding their worth apart from…well, their worth. Their intrinsic value to God doesn’t lie in performance or how much they have taken care of others. Their intrinsic value to God rests in who they are in Him, and to Him. Like all of us, it is about who God is, not what we are able to accomplish.
Because they often find their identity in how they provide for others, sometimes their relationships lack intimacy. Having to be the strong one, the nurturer, can lead to never letting others close. A mature giver will always have a couple people in whom they can confide. In fact, a mature giver recognizes that they have needs. Sometimes they can skate over this fact!
But because of this tendency towards reserve, givers can be pretty hard on themselves while giving others guilty of far worse a free pass. Don’t think the giver is naïve, however. While he or she can network like nobody’s business, they can usually spot manipulation pretty quick. After all, they are great businessmen and women. You don’t succeed in business if you are a shmuck.
Job is a moving example of a giver. The devil took away his ability to give, essentially. His children, the future generations were torn from him. His wealth, which he had shared so freely, was gone. And his ability to even emotionally support others evaporated and he was surrounded by some pretty wretched friends.
But one of the lessons Job learns is that he is not independent. His demand for an answer from God comes from a place of misunderstanding his own purpose. He cannot understand why God would allow him to lose what he had stewarded so carefully and given of so freely. The answer, of course, has to do with that pesky core lie. Job was valuable to God, not for his behavior or his generosity but because He made Job.
While I struggle with the idea that Job’s children could so cavalierly be replaced by more children as if that solved the problem, the truth remains. Job recouped his losses quickly. And givers do. They always have some project going, something in the works. Resilient, givers pull themselves back together pretty quick.
The mature giver has a lot of power. You see their statues in small towns, men and women who poured themselves into the youth where they lived. Trusting God, they can resist the lure of indulgence and greed and take risks of faith where God calls them to. After all, they are the guardians of the next generation.
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