the weblog of Alan Knox

Gifts and Giving…

Posted by on Feb 24, 2007 in blog links, service, spiritual gifts | 11 comments

My good friend Maël from “The Adventures of Maël & Cindy” posted several interested blogs last night. I’m hoping that at least two of those blogs result in good discussions.

First, there is his post called “Ephesians 4:11 – Spiritual gifts or positions?” In this post, he discusses Ephesians 4 and 1 Corinthians 12 and the relationships between spiritual gifts, spiritually gifted indivduals, and positions/offices. I know my thinking on this, but I’m wondering what others think. Mainly, I wonder, do you think it matters whether or not Ephesians 4:11 describes individuals serving through the gifting of the Spirit and offices within the church? Why or why not?

Second, in his post called “Entertain strangers” Maël builds on one of my earlier posts called “Justice, Kindness, Mercy…” In this post, Maël describes an encounter with a lady who asked him for money; he offered food, and she ended up having specific (expensive) tastes in food. He bought her food (not the expensive food she asked for, though), but he wonders if the lady took advantage of him. This brings me to the question that I plan to ask on his blog, and I ask here for my readers. When it comes to giving money/food/etc. to people in need, does God always ask us to use reason and logic?


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 2-24-2007

    I can’t answer for anyone but myself, but indulge me while I share my own experience with this type of question in the past.

    I used to live in Austin, TX. We had quite a large amount of “panhandlers” on the street corners. It was impossible to drive anywhere without seeing a cardboard sign.

    For years, I drove past with my judgmental ignorance. “They deserve what they got”, “They just want the money for drugs or cigarettes or alcohol. I’m not going to enable their behavior.” etc. etc. You know the comments I’m talking about.

    One day I was listening to a sermon about something that I don’t recall, but the topic got me thinking about ways I could reach out to people. In today’s emerging parlance, we would say that I was trying to think about how to be “missional”, although I hadn’t heard that term or heard of the emerging church at the time.

    As I asked the Lord how I could reach out to people, He reminded me of the people I passed every day on the street corner.

    I began my “No, Lord” argument, making sure God understood why it was not a smart use of “my” resources.

    And that was where God really convicted me about my “logic”. He said, clear as if He had spoken it out loud, “If I want you to give money to someone, and they squander it or use it for other purposes, that’s between me and them. All I’m asking of you is to give.”

    That thought revolutionized my thinking, and still has a huge impact on my mindset.

    It hit me that my responsibility is just to be obedient and giving, and let God handle the recipient.

    From that time on, as long as I was living there, if I pulled up to a traffic light and someone was “flying a sign”, I would ask the Lord what, if anything, I should do. Sometimes it was a dollar amount. Once or twice, it was “Whatever you have in your wallet”. Often, it was a leading to stop by the next gas station, buy them a sandwich, some snacks, and a drink, and circle back around to give it to them. Sometimes, God instructed me not to give anything, for whatever reason known only to Him.

    The freedom to do this without worrying about what my “logic” and “reason” said was huge! And more than a few times, the response was one of immense gratitude and lengthy conversation.

    I could share many more stories about this, but will allow this lengthy comment to suffice.

    The short answer, for me at least, is that I don’t believe that God necessarily expects us to use logic and reason when He directs us to give. I’m not even convinced that He ever asks us to use those. He leads, and we obey. Although I’m hesitant to state that dogmatically.

    I just know that in my experience, the logic and reason kept me from obeying. And when I started obeying contrary to logic and reason, I never regretted it!

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. 2-24-2007


    Thanks for sharing your experience in Reno. It is interesting to hear someone else suggest that God does not always lead us in ways that seem rational or logical. Of course, if we don’t use reason or logic, then we must make sure we are listening carefully to the Holy Spirit, which is not as simple as following reason and logic.


  3. 2-24-2007


  4. 2-24-2007

    Steve –
    Perhaps Alan’s wishing he were somewhere else in his avatar … perhaps Reno? LOL!!

  5. 2-24-2007

    hmmm… I wonder why I typed Reno. I usually just mess up my own name. Are you absoltely certain you were in Austin and not Reno?


  6. 2-24-2007

    Dude, if you’re gonna exercise the gift of word of knowledge, make sure you actually have it first! 😉 hehe

  7. 2-25-2007

    And no, that was not sarcasm in my previous comment. Just teasing 😉 hehe

  8. 2-26-2007

    I read the Sermon on the mount and it says give to any who ask of you. What more logic do we need? We can get all literal about verses that are much more obscure like I do not permit a woman to teach, but we don’t simply give when asked.

    What I think makes this especially troubling is that it demonstrates a lack of faith in the greatest Giver of all time. God gives and gives and gives. I couldn’t type one more typestroke here unless He gives me the heartbeat and the breath. But, especially with money, we tend to believe the world’s lie that there is a finite amount of resources and we better keep all we can.

    If God commands us to give, and He commands us to be hospitable, and He promises to ensure that we are fed and clothed, then, do we believe it?

  9. 2-26-2007


    Thank you for reminding us that God is the great giver. It could be that our lack of giving is an indication of our lack of faith in God’s ability to provide for our needs. Our lack of giving could also be a demonstration us seeking our wants (as opposed to needs) instead of trusting what God provides.


  10. 2-26-2007

    Alan, I think the parable of the Minas and of the Talents explains it well. The wicked servant did not have faith in the Master. He had an aberrant picture of Who the Master was, and, as a result, because of his unbelief, he failed to invest of his gifts in the Kingdom. Unbelief, an inaccurate understanding of Who God is and who we are in Him, these lead to a stingy and self-centered world view.

  11. 2-26-2007


    Yes. We know our Master, right? So, let’s live as if he can do what we say we believe he can do.