We help you give and we strengthen the causes you give to

Generosity is our cause

Submenu title


piggy bank

The generosity of God: The Spirit's lavish gifts

The fascinating dynamics of our giving and the unwavering generosity of the Holy Spirit.

paul blackham Paul Blackham
4 min

Can you keep on giving if your gifts are wasted?

This is a hard challenge, especially if we are giving to people who seem to use their resources in harmful ways. What if the people we are giving to are not using their resources in the best way or just not in the way that we think that they should? Do we stop showing generosity if our gifts are wasted?

The generosity of the Sprit 

First, let’s consider just how generously the Spirit of God gives gifts to us. In the Nicene Creed we confess that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life. Job 33:4 says “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Every breath we take, every move we make is a love gift from the Spirit – if we are looking at everything in an ultimate sense. If our first birth is a gift from the Spirit, then our second birth (John 3:5–8) is also a wonderful gift from the Spirit.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7–11, the Spirit gives all kinds of gifts to all the different members of the Church family, so that the gifts are used to build one another up. The gifts of the Spirit are given in order to be given!

arrows different direction

A good investment? 

The Biblical authors wrote as they were moved by the Spirit, and as we read the Bible today, that same Divine Author gives us light to understand and apply these sacred words.

Yet, if all this is true, how do we use the gifts of life, new life, illumination and the gracious gifts of service that the Holy Spirit so generously gives to us? Are we a good investment for the Holy Spirit? Does the Spirit get a good return on all that we are given?

The Holy Spirit invests in us and keeps on giving so richly to us, and yet that divine work is undone and spoiled by us day by day.

If we are hesitant and careful about our generosity to people who seem to waste what we give them, then how does the Holy Spirit feel about all that is given to us?

Thomas Goodwin (1600–1680), in his wonderful book The Work of the Holy Spirit, wrote:

And is it nothing, think you, to have his work continually spoiled? Never to find the soul as he left it? To have that heart he dwells in continually resisting and contradicting of him? To have that unspun in the night which he hath woven in the day? To have made a good prayer in us, and that swept away, as if it were but a cobweb, by lust that riseth? To have his greatest enemy, the devil, blaspheme him and his graces, in his own house, in his own hearing? If Lot’s righteous soul was vexed… then how much more is the author of all grace, dwelling in us, insomuch as he is weary of this world…? (Goodwin, T. (1863). In The Works of Thomas Goodwin (Vol. 6, p. 42). Edinburgh: James Nichol.)

Pastor Albert Martin gave a challenging sermon in which he asked us to consider some questions.

What were our eyes were given for? To look at people with love, to see their need and to help them, to appreciate the glory of God in the world around us.  

What were our ears given for? To listen to one another and to the Word of God.  

What were our mouths given for? To speak truth and encouragement, praise and prayer.  

What was each part of our body given for, if we think about all that the Living God dreamed when we were originally designed?

On that final day of judgement, how will we account for the way we have used all these generous gifts?

Now, we might wonder if the Holy Spirit will stop giving so generously to God’s people when we waste so many of these gifts.

The wonderful miracle

Yet, the wonderful miracle is that the Holy Spirit patiently keeps generously giving us gifts, investing in us, believing in us – because the Spirit is the guarantee that we will not be abandoned.

three plus symbols

2 Corinthians 1:22 says God “put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

Ephesians 1:14 says the Spirit “is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession...”

The Holy Spirit shows us generosity because the Spirit sees the end, sees what we are destined for, sees the heavenly treasure that is worth so much.

In our own generous giving, we want to be careful and wise in the way we give, but we must always have in mind that final accounting when true value can be measured.


Read Part 1: The generosity of God: The Father's infinite love

Read Part 2: The generosity of God: The Son's priceless gift


Subscribe to Generous, Stewardship’s monthly email for news and content on generosity and giving. 

Discover the joy of active generosity with a Stewardship Giving Account


Generous Newsletter

Monthly emails for supporters. Inspiration, practical tools and guidance to support the causes you love in more meaningful ways. 

Profile image of Paul Blackham
Written by

Paul Blackham

Paul Blackham has been preaching since the age of 14 and has a PhD in systematic theology from Kings College London. He has ministered at several churches, including All Souls Church, Langham Place in central London, and is currently a Church Planter at Soul Church, Neath. He is also author of the Book by Book Bible study DVD series.