(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the New International Version).
We frequently hear of believers struggling to “tap” from the grace of successful ministers or other believers. In many Christian circles, people are encouraged to sow “financial seeds” into the lives and ministries of men of God, in order to “key into” or “tap into” their grace. Is grace transferable? Can a man impart his own grace to another, outside of the divine will? And most importantly, do we really need to covet another man’s grace in order to be successful Christians? We shall attempt to answer these questions through a close examination of the Scriptures.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Romans 12:4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
Romans 12:5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
Romans 12:7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
Romans 12:8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear, from the Scriptures above, that every member of the body of Christ is graced. Every believer has one spiritual gift or the other given to them by the grace of God, in order to bless the entire body of Christ and the whole of humanity. I wish we can all understand this important truth! Yes, everyone of us in the body of Christ, including the “least brethren”, has received grace from God to function in a unique way in the body of Christ! We all have unique talents, gifts and abilities that God has deposited inside all of us, for the purpose of edifying the body of Christ and blessing humanity! Grace is not an exclusive preserve of ministers of the gospel! The grace of God is upon every child of God! We may not have the same grace and the same gifts and talents, but we all have our own Christ-apportioned gifts! We’re not just called to sit and admire and applaud the grace of gifted ministers! All of us have unique graces with which to bless one another!! This knowledge should destroy envy, jealousy and pride among believers instantly! Why should I be envious and jealous of your grace when I have mine? Why should anyone be proud and haughty concerning the grace he carries when everyone else carries grace too? Hallelujah! Yes, God has given to every child of God some measure of faith and grace, and that should make everyone content, humble and grateful!
Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;
Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 4:8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.”
So, we all have grace and gifts of grace. We all have ministries. We are all ministers. Thus, the idea of thinking that only the ordained clergy are graced and gifted ministers is fundamentally wrong! The idea that other believers are just to sit back in the pew to receive from graced ministers during fellowship is not biblically right. When the church gathers together for fellowship, each member is to use his gift and grace to bless others. Blessing is not supposed to be a one-way traffic, from the pulpit to the pew! The pew is to bless the pulpit as much as the pulpit blesses the pew! The pastor too is to be edified by the members as much as the members are edified by the pastor! If pastors come to fellowship with the mindset that they’re to empty and release their grace upon their people and go back home depleted of virtues, then they’ve missed the mark! Pastors are to receive as much virtues from the people as they release upon the people. Every member of the congregation has the grace and the gift to bless and replenish the pastor while in service! The Church is supposed to be a closely-knit body where every member nourishes and sustains and builds up one another!
1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
1 Corinthians 12:5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
1 Corinthians 12:6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
1 Corinthians 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
1 Corinthians 12:10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
1 Corinthians 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body —whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free —and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
1 Corinthians 12:14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Corinthians 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
I want to make a categorical statement here which might offend some people, but it’s the gospel truth: no man can give or transfer his gift or grace to another! Because no man gifted himself or is the source of his own gifts and grace, no man can transfer spiritual gifts to another man! All spiritual gifts come from God, and God distributes those gifts to his people according to his will and desire. It’s not by our coveting of gifts that we possess them. It’s not by lusting after gifts that we receive the grace for them. We cannot project our gifts onto others, even though we can bless others with our gifts. It’s only God’s prerogative to give or transfer a gift. The bearer of the gift does not control the gift. So, to fawn and appeal to a man of God in order to “tap” from his gift is scriptural ignorance. To sow “financial seeds” into a man’s life in order to have his grace transferred to us is folly and satanic delusion! You can’t buy the gift of God with money!
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
1 Corinthians 12:14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
1 Corinthians 12:16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.
1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
1 Corinthians 12:18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
Numbers 27:15 Moses said to the LORD,
Numbers 27:16 “May the LORD, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community
Numbers 27:17 to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
Numbers 27:18 So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him.
Numbers 27:19 Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence.
Numbers 27:20 Give him some of your authority so the whole Israelite community will obey him.
Numbers 27:21 He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the LORD. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.”
Numbers 27:22 Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and had him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly.
Numbers 27:23 Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses.
The Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria.
The Acts 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
The Acts 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Acts 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The Acts 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money
The Acts 8:19 and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Acts 8:20 Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!
The Acts 8:21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.
The Acts 8:22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.
The Acts 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Someone might argue and say, “what of Elisha? Didn’t he covet a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and anointing, and didn’t Elijah transfer same to him?”. At first glance that would appear to be correct, for Elisha asked and received a double portion of Elijah’s prophetic spirit. However, on deeper exposition of the Scriptures, we’ll discover that Elijah’s transfer of prophetic anointing to Elisha was simply in obedience to divine directives. God had already commanded Elijah, some moment before, to appoint Elisha as prophet in his stead, when his ministry was about to come to an end. It was a clear will of God for Elisha to become the voice and mouthpiece of God after Elijah. So, Elisha asking for the spirit and power that was upon Elijah to come upon himself was simply asking for the will of God to be done! Elijah wasn’t transferring the anointing or grace on his own impulse; he was simply obeying a divine injunction!
1 Kings 19:13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
1 Kings 19:15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.
1 Kings 19:16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.
1 Kings 19:17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.
1 Kings 19:18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel —all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him.
1 Kings 19:20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
1 Kings 19:21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
In conclusion, the grace of God is upon every believer in Christ, manifesting as unique gifts of the Spirit for ministry. It’s therefore absurd for believers to be envying and coveting one another’s gifts and graces, seeing we all have been dealt some measure of grace and faith by our gracious heavenly Father. Also, we’ve seen from Scriptures that all graces and gifts come from God, and cannot be transferred without divine authority. We also learnt that we cannot purchase the gift or the grace of God with money. It’s therefore unbiblical to induce people to sow financial seeds into a ministry in order to “tap” grace. That’s simply making merchandise of the gift of God, and it’s fraudulent! Rather than being envious and jealous of other people’s gifts, we should give all diligence to discover and cultivate our own gifts and graces, so that we too can minister to and bless other members of the body of Christ as well as the rest of humanity.