Giving is listed as a spiritual gift in Romans 12:8. However, it is a quality which we are all encouraged to demonstrate as taught in 2 Cor 8, 9. Indeed, giving and generosity (ie ‘excel’ in giving 2 Cor 8:7) reveal our hearts, a reflection of what Jesus did for us when he gave himself.
But, as a spiritual gift, there is an added dimension. I know of people, some on small pensions, who so love to give that they sacrifice their own comforts to be able to give to others. I believe that God is pleased with such people who receive grace to exercise this gift in such a self sacrificial way.
Ability to serve as a channel of God’s supernatural (that is without the aid of natural means or human skill) healing(s) – whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
In 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30 we read of gifts of healings; this is plural. Therefore there can be various kinds of gifts and of sicknesses. Healings may be instantaneous, gradual, complete or partial. If partial, we may have to continue praying (Mark 8:22-25).
About two years ago a woman on our church was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The specialist told her to go away and put her affairs in order; there was nothing the medics could do after a full range of chemotherapy had been unsuccessful. A group of close friends gathered regularly with her over many weeks crying out to God. Gradually she regained strength and after many months of persistent prayer she was declared healed (which included the disappearance of a metal stent) by the amazed and unbelieving consultant who had sent her away to die!
‘And these signs will accompany those who believe … they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well’ (Mark 16:17-18).
Ability to give strong support and relief in practical ways to those in need, particularly the disadvantaged.
This is listed in 1 Cor 12:28 alongside miracles, healings, tongues etc. According to Robertson & Plummer’s International Critical Commentary the Greek word means ‘to take firm hold of someone in order to help, to share in or carry a burden, to take a burden on one’s self’.
In Acts 20:35 Paul says that “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Perhaps the gift of helps is particularly related to those who notice people who are vulnerable and seek to get alongside them with loving care and support: ‘…I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matt. 25:40)