The second set of gifts here are gifts that extend the work of God. You might call them serving gifts.
. . . if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:8)
The first is the gift of giving, or the gift of contributing. God has blessed some people with the singleness of heart to give greatly to the work of God. The true motive of giving is love for God. Love is ever measured by its gift. The Bible says, “For God so loved . . . that he gave.”
I want to go back to the story of Barnabas. I love what was being told in the fourth chapter of Acts. First, it was presented as an example of what we can and should do. Barnabas (don’t you love that nickname? “Son of Comfort.” And, it says that the apostles were the ones who named him that. What testimony! I want to be a “Son of Comfort”!) oh, sorry for the sidetrack . . . anyway, Barny sold some property he owned. Barnabas owned the property and could have done anything with the proceeds. He could have bought some CDs with it; he could have given it to his children (if he had any); he could have taken a Mediterranean cruise; he could have done whatever he wanted to because it was his money! Nobody required him to give it the church. However, something had happened in his heart and he felt inspired—compelled—to joyfully offer the funds to the church.
Wow! How about that? I bet a big deal was made about it. Everybody was shouting and hooting, slapping “high-fives” . . . I suppose it’s possible that only a few people knew about it, but the fact that it’s mentioned here, gives you the impression that the church was excited and rejoiced that Barnabas gave the money . . . and I can picture Barnabas kind of shrugging it off . . . “No, big deal. I knew the funds were needed, so I just sold the property . . . “
That’s how all of us should respond with all the gifts the Lord gives to us. That’s the way my father-in-law is. He is extremely generous and the Lord has delighted in his willingness to share and provided for him quite well. Even being retired he continues to give.
I know someone who has a tremendous gift of encouragement and will meet you with a hug and big smile anywhere and anytime. If you make any mention of it, she will shrug her shoulders because it is as natural for her as it is for a fish to swim.
There are others who have the ability to take God’s Word and present it in the simplest terms—taking the most complex issues, and making them understandable. When you mention it to them, they shrug their shoulders and say, “Thank you.” There is no pride or excitement over the gifts, they don’t even think of it being a special “gift,” it is “just who they are.”
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome