Here’s quick review of spiritual gifts because we’ve covered so much ground, but we’ve got more to do. As the body of Christ, we need to be engaged in faithfully serving Christ through the local church using the spiritual gifts God has given to us so that the body of Christ functions properly. Today we continue behind the scenes to another gift that is misunderstood. It may not be exactly what you have been taught. Let’s look at giving.
We’ll stay in Romans 12:6-8 for now so I hope you have your Bible. We have seen that understanding the definition of words is very important in our understanding of spiritual gifts. The word for giving in v. 8 is a very interesting word. It is the Greek word metadidomi [met-ad-id’-o-mee] that is formed from two separate, distinct words. The first is meta that means with and the second is didomi that means give. When you put it together it is metadidomi that literally means to give over, to give a share or impart. Is there is a reason Paul does not use the word for giving?
If you do a word study on metadidomi, you’d see that it occurs just five times in the N.T. Look at Luke 3:11. Metadidomi is translated share. So someone that has two tunics or items of clothing, is to give to someone that has none. The same thing goes for sharing food.
Look at Romans 1:11. The word is translated impart here. Paul wants to give them a spiritual gift so they would be established, or made stable. We’ve seen Romans 12:8 where metadidomi is translated give. We are to give with liberality. Liberality means with singleness, simplicity, sincerity, mental honesty. It is the virtue of one who is free from pretence and hypocrisy, not self seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity. It means giving not just because you get a tax break. It means that you don’t make a big show about giving. The Pharisees were known for giving in coins so that it made a lot of noise when it was put in the offering plate. Matthew 6:2 says, “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men.”
Look at 1 Thessalonians 2:8. Paul was happy to impart not only the Gospel, but his life. In Ephesians 4:28 metadidomi is translated share. This is another example of the changing power of Christ. If you were a thief stop that and start working for a living. Start working with your hands so that you’ll have something to metadidomi with people. You’ll have something to share.
The picture painted in each of these verses is not just handing something to someone, it is imparting; it is sharing what you have with others. You can share clothing, food, secret family recipes, you can share knowledge, you can share your tools although I recommend a contract of some form. You can also share money.
There are certain people within the body that are supernaturally gifted to impart what they have to others. It’s not just cooking a meal or giving some hand me down clothes to someone else because you love them. It is a supernatural ability to impart the substance of your being. Someone with the spiritual gift of giving may be very financially well off, but that is not always the case. They give liberally, and they give to meet a need.
As with some of the other gifts we’ve looked at, we need to determine what the gift is not. I don’t want and confusion here. When talking about spiritual gifts, people may know not what their gift is, but they always seem to know what their gift is not. Just because you don’t have this gift doesn’t mean that you don’t need to support the needs of the church. There are some general giving principles that apply to all of us, not just those with the gift of giving.
There’s another word for giving in the Scriptures that was not chosen to describe the gift of giving. It is the word epididomi. This word simply means to give over, or to hand over. I want to look at just one passage that I think sums up the responsibility of giving for all of us. Turn to 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. Therea re some really cool points in this passage that we need to understand.
Even though they were in great affliction, “Their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.”
- Their giving was not dependent on their circumstances.
- They gave of their ability and beyond their ability – willingly.
- These people begged Paul to be allowed to participate in supporting the work.
- Before they did that though, they gave themselves to the Lord then to Paul.
- In verse 7 Paul told them, “But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.”
- They abounded. The word means to exceed a fixed number of measure; to be left over. They abounded in faith and utterance and knowledge.In everything they abounded – except money. Remember v. 2 said they had deep poverty.Paul told them to see to it that they abounded in the work of supporting the saints.
- In my mind, verse 8 screams, “Show me the money.” Remember Cuba Gooding? That’s the proof of your sincerity.
- Verse 12 says they gave from what they had, not what they wished they had. The emphasis of their giving was not about affordability.
- Verse 14 is opposite of what many people think. When we have abundance, most of us take that opportunity to spend on ourselves. We lay that treasure here on earth and we miss the treasures in heaven. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.”
According to Matthew the tax collector, we are accountable to God. The purpose of our abundance is not to get more stuff, but it’s to help out those that are lacking. Of course, Christ was the ultimate example. He was rich, yet He became poor so we could be rich. “Became poor” literally means reduced to beggary. Don’t think of Christ in terms of money on earth. What He was reduced to cannot be compared to silver and gold. You’ve got to read Revelation 4:1-11. It is such a rich word picture, don’t miss the significance of this passage.
When you get down to the lowest level, to the root cause, lack of giving is generally an indication of covetousness.
There is a real difference in the spiritual gift and the responsibility that each of us has. The word Paul used for supernatural giving is different from the word used to describe the giving required of every Christian. I went through general giving because I want you to understand that the giving gift is different than what is required of all of us. The spiritual gift is not giving 11%. The gift is the supernatural ability to impart or share what you have with others. It can take the form of money, possessions, clothes, food, ability, and a host of other things. It is not simple giving.
The gift of giving. I wonder if you have the gift of giving.
I issued a challenge to C4 last Sunday. Here is the challenge I offered:
- If you tithe, continue on.
- If you have never tithed, or if you tithe <10%, I challenge you to give the full tithe.
- I’m asking that you test God to see if His Word is true. If you lack after that week, the church will give you your money back.
- This challenge applies to everyone.
- If you’re a married woman and your husband is at home, talk to him about it.
- This is not to raise money for the church.
- This is to show you that God is faithful, that He means what He says, and will not cause you to lack anything you need.
I know God is true to His Word. I’m excited to see how God will open the eyes of those who will trust in Him.