Spiritual Gifts │The Gift of Giving

Studies

Spiritual Gifts Series

Spiritual Gifts: The Gift of Giving

Category of Gift: Service

Romans 12:8, Page 1775

“he who gives, with liberality,”

Section One

Background on Giving

1.1 Giving Generally. We have seen that many, but not all, spiritual gifts relate to basic commands to all believers.  The person possessing the special spiritual gift of giving falls into this category.  Every Christian must give, but the person with the spiritual gift of giving has a special ability to give with liberality. Jesus taught about giving on numerous occasions.   Let us examine a few of these teachings.  

1.2 Old Testament GivingGod tells us that every beast of the forest, the cattle on a thousand hills, every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is His (Psalm 50:10-11, page 903).  He flatly declares that the world is His, and all it contains (“כִּי-לִי תֵבֵל, וּמְלֹאָהּ”) (Psalm 50:12, page 903).  Because Jesus has fulfilled the requirements of the law (Matthew 5:17, page 1507), the law cannot serve as a guide for the giving of righteous people (Romans 10:4, page 1772; Galatians 3:23-24, page 1823; 1 Timothy 1:8-11, page 1854). Instead, we will look for New Testament principles to guide us.

1.3 New Testament Giving. In the New Testament, we see many wonderful examples of giving. We also learn important principles of giving. Please recall that everyone must be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7, page 1813), but the people with the spiritual gift of giving will super-abound with giving, with liberality.

1.3.1 Giving Means You Share Food and Clothing.  John proclaimed that the crowds coming to him to be baptized were a brood of vipers, fleeing from the wrath to come (Luke 3:7, page 1600). John warned them further that the axe was already laid at the root of the tree. If the tree does not bear fruit, then God would chop that tree down, even if it claimed to be children of Abraham. The crowd reacted with a question: “Then what shall we do?” (Luke 3:8-10). John answered that they must share (“μεταδότω”) one tunic if anyone had two tunics, and do likewise with food (Luke 3:11, page 1600).   As we will see below, this word “share” has a very important meaning when we examine the spiritual gift of giving below.

1.3.2 Giving Means Work First So You May Give Later.  In Ephesians 4:28, page 1831 we learn that believers work, instead of stealing, so that believers will have something to share (“μεταδιδόναι”) with those people in need.  Notice the relationship between working and giving here.  Work first so you may share later.  You may work even after you have enough for yourself and family, so that you may share with those people in need (“χρείαν”).    

1.3.3 Giving Means You Rely upon God To Sustain You Everyday.   God created every living thing on earth, and feeds them every day.  He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:15-16, page 998; compare Matthew 6:26, page 1510).  Jesus taught that we must avoid Gentile anxieties about food and clothing by trusting God to provide them to us as we need them (Matthew 6:25-34, page 1510).

1.3.4 Giving Means You Give All You Have.  One day Jesus  sat down opposite the treasury, and taught His disciples about giving by comparing the large sums rich people put into the treasury with the two small copper coins the poor widow put into the treasury.  Jesus taught that the widow gave all she had to live on.  By giving her all, she put in more than all of them (Luke 21:1-4, page 1642).  Compare James 1:5, page 1887, where God gives wisdom generously (“ἁπλῶς”) to saints who ask for it. Be sure to learn the lesson here.   Spiritual giving never means giving quantitatively (large sums), but rather qualitatively (all you have from the heart).  Notice the poor widow had two coins, and she gave both.   She could have held one back, but gave both coins to God’s service.

1.3.5 Giving Means You Do It Quietly and Secretly.  Jesus taught His disciples to give to the poor without sounding trumpets to be honored by men (Matthew 6:2, pages 1508-1503), but rather do it quietly and secretly so that even your left hand does not know what your right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3-4, page 1503).

Section Two

The Ministry of Giving All

2.1 The New Testament Use of the Word “Giving.” Paul only used a few words to describe the spiritual gift of giving in Romans 12:8, Page 1775.  We can examine these words to understand the points he was making about the spiritual gift of giving.  Please remember always that God inspired each word (verbal inspiration) of the Bible and all the words (plenary inspiration) in the Bible God inspired.

2.2 The Word “Giving” in Romans 12:8.  The New Testament description of this spiritual gift in Romans 12:8, page 1775, certainly is brief. Let us start with the word for “giving” in Romans 12:8, page 1775.  Paul does not use the normal word for giving (“δίδωμι”).  Instead, he uses a word used infrequently (only two other times) in the New Testament. Scholars who study words in the Bible define this word here for giving (“μεταδιδοὺς”) as to impart, give or share.  As part of good word study technique, let us see how this same root word has been used in those other two places in the New Testament.   

2.2.1 Share Tunics and Food. In Luke 3:11, page 1600, as we saw above, Jesus told the crowd (including unbelievers) to share (“μεταδότω”) their tunics and food with those who have none. People with the spiritual gift of giving will share their clothes and food with people who do not have food and clothing.

2.2.2 Work To Share Earthly Goods. In Ephesians 4:28, page 1831, we saw above that believers should work so that they may share (“μεταδιδόναι”) earthly goods with others.  In both instances of the other uses of this particular term for “giving,” it refers to sharing earthly goods with needy people. People with the spiritual gift of giving will work longer and harder than others so that they have more to share with people in true need.

2.2.3 Widow’s Act of Giving.  Compare the sharing earthly goods emphasis with the widow’s act of giving.   In the Luke 21:4, page 1642, the widow cast (“ἔβαλεν”)  her gift (“τὰ δῶρα”) out of her poverty (“τοῦ ὑστερήματος”)  and literally cast all the life out of her (“πάντα τὸν βίον”), meaning that she cast all her money for living.  The point with her is that poor widow did not just share, she gave all she had to live on.  She did not just share her earthly goods, but she cast her entire life-money into the treasury for God’s use.  She gave everything, and showed us that true spiritual giving will never be how much you gave (the rich people gave vast sums from their riches) in the sense of quantity, but rather God demands high quality giving–all you have (the widow’s two coins). People with the spiritual gift of giving tend to give all that they have, not measured in quantity, but in quality of the giving.

Section Three

The Ministry of Giving with Liberality

3.1 The Spiritual Gift of Giving: “Liberality” Word Study.  The other word in Romans 12:8, page 1775, dealing with giving is the word translated   “liberality” (“ἁπλότητι”).  The New Testament has at least seven uses of this basic noun and those uses fall into two basic categories of meaning.  

3.1.1 Meaning One of “Liberality”: Bountiful Giving.  We learn more about bountiful giving from the example of the Corinthian church with their giving.

3.1.1.2 Supply and Multiply Principle of Giving. In 2 Corinthians 9:11, page 1813, God explains the basic principle of supply and multiply concerning our giving.  God not only supplies our giving, but He multiplies our giving (2 Corinthians 9:10,page 1813).  Believers with the spiritual gift of giving rely upon the spiritual principle of supply and multiply. They count upon God to supply their own needs, so that in turn, God will multiply what they have, so that they may give to people in need.

3.1.1.3 Giving with All Liberality. Next, God explains that the Corinthians will be enriched in everything for all liberality, apparently referring to their giving with “all liberality” (“πᾶσανἁπλότητα”) for the saints in Jerusalem who were suffering from famine and poverty (2 Corinthians 9:11, page 1815).  This phrase “all liberality” describes the extent of the Corinthians’ giving–all out giving. Believers with the spiritual gift of giving give with all liberality, meaning that they hold nothing back and give bountifully.

3.1.1.4 Saints Enriched for Giving with All Liberality. Putting these thoughts together, God tells the Corinthians that He will enrich them as they give all out.  God continues on and explains that the saints will glorify God because of the Corinthians for the “liberality” (“ἁπλότητι”) of their contribution to the saints in Jerusalem and to all (2 Corinthians 9:13, page 1814).  Earlier in 2 Corinthians 8:2, page 1812, Paul told the Corinthians about the giving of the Macedonians, even though they were suffering a great ordeal of affliction, their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality (“ἁπλότητος “) of giving. Believers with the spiritual gift of giving give out of their relative poverty and in their afflictions, but they give with all liberality from what they have received from God.

3.2.1 Meaning Two of “Liberality”: Sincerity.  Paul himself provides another example of giving with liberality and he himself illustrates the concept of giving with sincerity. Paul gave of himself to the Corinthians, so that he conducted his service among the Corinthians with proud confidence.

3.2.1.1 Giving in Sincerity. In  2 Corinthians 1:12, page 1805, we observe the term “sincerity” (“ἁπλότητι”) which relates closely to the word for liberality described above. 

3.2.1.2 Proud Confidence. In 2 Corinthians 1:12, page 1805, we see that “sincerity” describes the “proud confidence” Paul has of the way he conducted himself toward the whole world, and the Corinthians in particular, “in holiness and Godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God.”  Paul emphasizes here that he was sincere, and without any type of deceit, dishonesty, or pride. Believers with the spiritual gift of giving give with sincerity, according to the grace of God, so that they give of their time and efforts with proud confidence.

3.2.1.3 Sincerity of Heart. In Ephesians 6:5, page 1833, Paul commanded slaves to obey their master in sincerity (“ἁπλότητι”) of heart, as if they were serving Christ (see the same thought and term used in  Colossians 3:22, page 1845). Notice that slaves have an obligation to serve because someone else owns them. How you perform your compulsory service to your master makes all the difference. Believers with the spiritual gift of giving provide service to their masters, employers, friends, spouses, children, and ultimately to God, from a heart of sincerity, knowing they are giving of themselves in service to God.

3.2.1.4 Pure Devotion to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, page 1815, Paul warned the Corinthians against being led astray in their minds, by the same tactics Satan used to deceive Eve, from the sincerity (“ἁπλότητος”) and purity of devotion to Christ.  In that last passage, we understand that sincerity can also be a quality of devotion in the mind to Christ.  Believers with the spiritual gift of giving have devoted themselves in their minds to Christ, so that give as service to Christ.

Section Four

Summary of the Gift of Giving

4.1 Giving from God. So, let us assemble our knowledge of the uses of the terms, and the primary teachings about giving, and summarize our study.The Spiritual Gift of giving means that you can share physical goods with people in need, and do so with all out giving, from a sincere and pure heart. People with this gift often like to work extra hard, so they have extra to share with people in need.  People with this gift exercise it secretly and quietly,  deliberately avoiding the praise of men (and without blowing trumpets), so they can receive the reward of God.  The people with the gift of giving already comprehend that God owns everything, and He alone supplies and multiplies the seed they sow into the lives of the needy.  When they give, the people with the gift of giving never have cares or anxieties about their own welfare, because they know God alone provides for them.  God loves all cheerful givers, even those saints who do not have the gift of giving (2 Corinthians 9:7, page 1812).

Section Five

Hallmarks of the Gift of Giving

          So we learn more about the spiritual gift of giving today. Check out the qualities below to see if you may have the spiritual gift of giving.

♦  Giving-gifted believers give all that they have.

  Giving-gifted believers work longer and harder than others so that they have more to share with people in true need.

  Giving-gifted believers tend to give all that they have, not measured in quantity, but in quality of the giving.

♦ Giving-gifted believers upon the spiritual principle of supply and multiply.

  Giving-gifted believers give with all liberality, meaning that they hold nothing back and give bountifully.

  Giving-gifted believers give out of their relative poverty and in their afflictions, but they give with all liberality from what they have received from God.

  Giving-gifted believers give with sincerity, according to the grace of God, so that they give of their time and efforts with proud confidence.

  Giving-gifted believer provide service to their masters, employers, friends, spouses, children, and ultimately to God, from a heart of sincerity, knowing they are giving of themselves in service to God.

♦  Giving-gifted believers have devoted themselves in their minds to Christ, so that they give as service to Christ.

May all believers serve God by giving to others what He has first given to us, with all liberality and with all joy.

Spiritual Gifts │The Gift of Giving