Episode 1. The Generous Giver
Each one of us is different, that’s obvious but so is the fact that we each have a dominant personality type. For instance some people are givers, you can just see it in the generosity …
Each one of us is different, that’s obvious but so is the fact that we each have a dominant personality type. For instance some people are givers, you can just see it in the generosity that’s oozing out of them but even givers have some inherent weaknesses. What are they and how can they be overcome?
If you were able to join me last week you’ll remember that we’re in the middle of a series of messages that’s all about identifying the natural limitations of each personality type and how to overcome them. Mmm personality types, is that a Biblical concept? Well actually it absolutely is.
A few years back I co authored a book with a good friend of mine, Keith Henry, called My Personality GPS. It was all about understanding your personality type so that you can live your life to the full. Now Keith had been doing a lot of research on personality types over twenty years and of course there are many systems out there to help people to get a handle on exactly who they are but Keith approached it from a Biblical perspective because and here’s the theory, if God made each one of us to be who we are, then wouldn’t He have something to say about personality types?
Well in fact He does, He says something about that in Romans chapter 12 the Apostle Paul talks about what you might have heard some people call our motivational giftings. I guess a more common term these days would be our personality types. In other words our natural motivations, how we’ve been wired on the inside.
Here’s what He actually says, Romans chapter 12 beginning at verse 3:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourselves more highly than you ought to think but to think with sober judgement each according to the measure of faith that Gods assigned. For as in one body we have many members and not all the members have the same function so we who are many are all one in the body of Christ and individually we’re members of one another.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, prophecy in proportion to faith, ministry in ministering, the teacher in teaching, the exhorter in exhortation, the giver in generosity, the leader in diligence, the compassionate in cheerfulness.
Now last week we chatted about the achiever, the encourager, the teacher and the carer. Today we’re going to kick off the week with the giver. One of the personality types listed there by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 12 and in case you missed it here it is again. ‘We each have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, verse 8, the giver in generosity.’
Now if you’ve ever been around a giver personality type you’ll know that they are great people to hang around, who doesn’t want to be with a generous person? And they just aren’t generous with their money, they’re generous with their time, with all of their resources, with their gifts and with their abilities. I love I mean I absolutely love the way that God has this all planned out and He says there through the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 12:
For as in one body we have many members and not all members have the same function so we who are many are one in the body of Christ and individually it’s like we’re members of one another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.
See we’re all different and yet complimentary. We need all of those personality types in a group of people be it a community, a family, a Church, a corporation. When we have those people together in one place it’s awesome because none of us can be all of those personality types, each one of us has a natural motivation and for the giver personality type that motivation is generosity.
So are you a giver or perhaps someone close to you, are they a giver? Well here are just a few characteristics of givers to help you recognise them. See givers easily and intuitively sense other people’s needs, they just know and they’re generous in helping those people meet those needs. Often they put their own needs aside in order to do that.
Givers tend to be positive and energetic people generally who’ll do anything for those they love. In fact so much so that they find it much easier to give than they do to receive. So they often don’t have time to meet their own needs because they’re so busy sacrificing in order to meet the needs of others. Givers tend to be positive and supportive, they’re sensitive, relationships are extremely important to the giver. Because they’re into giving, they’re often busy people who find it hard to ask for help for themselves.
Do you know someone who ticks some of those boxes, most of those boxes? Well there’s every chance that that person has the personality type of the giver and we need givers in this world because they look after the needs of other people in such a special way.
My wife Jacqui is a giver. We have a close family member whose about to get married and there she is helping, buying the ties for the groomsmen online and making the sample lapel flowers and fussing around helping the bride choose her gown. It’s just her, its how she’s wired. She brings her skills and abilities into play so naturally because she senses the need, sees it in a way that I simply can’t and just steps in and gives of her time and energy and resources. Absolutely we need givers.
But just as with every other one of those personality types that’s listed there in Romans chapter 12 givers have some natural weaknesses, some downsides to their personality type if you will. We all have those and givers are no different. So what are their natural weaknesses? This is really important stuff you know. Look if we know who we are, what our natural strengths are that’s great because we can play to those strengths but often our limitations hold us back. If we had a really good handle on those and what we can do to overcome them that would be brilliant.
If we play to our strengths consciously and worked on our limitations, hey, that would make me the best me that I can be and you the best you that you can be. That’s what this series Yes An Old Dog Can Learn New Tricks is all about, learning the tricks to minimising the impacts of our natural weaknesses.
So what are the givers natural limitations and weaknesses? Well in their giving sometimes they become bossy because they want to control others, in fact they even sometimes become aggressive and confrontational breeding resentment to those they’re trying to help but who don’t deliver and when that happens they lose their empathy and their kind feelings especially when others don’t pitch in to help the way that they do.
See givers have a tendency because they’re so giving sometimes to over involve themselves in the lives of others and they come to believing that they’re totally indispensable in that other person’s life, that other people couldn’t possibly survive without them. So they use that by way of threat and manipulation.
Do you see how naturally those limitations flow out of their God-given strengths? And that’s how it is for each one of us, our personality type is a two-sided coin, strengths on one side and flip it over and you’ll see the weaknesses. So what can the giver do to minimise those natural weaknesses?
Well the first thing is to recognise them and admit to them and then to get a grip on who they really are. Develop some confidence in themselves and recognise that they do have some unique value. Enjoy being that incredibly special person that they are and here’s the key, when a giver gives it needs to be, listen to this givers, it needs to be without any strings attached, without any expectation of reward.
When they have an unselfish compassion and empathy for those around them they find their own sense of creativity which they can enjoy and relax in. And an important thing for a giver is to have a hobby, something they do just for themselves so they can enjoy that for themselves that way they don’t get burnt out from giving.
And finally remember the Apostle Paul and what he says the giver should do, the giver should give generously. The original Greek word that he uses for generosity means ‘with a singleness and simplicity and sincerity and a mental honesty without pretence or hypocrisy or a sense of control’. Not in a self-seeking way but with an openness of heart.
There’s a powerful message in there from God for givers, give generously and without any strings attached and when you do that you will be being the person that God made you to be.