Romans 12:8: The Gift of Giving: Part One
- Giving with simplicity
- Giving with generosity
The next spiritual gift that Paul mentions for us is the gift of giving, Rom. 12:8, ‘the one who contributes; in generosity.’ We are all called to serve with the abundance God has given us. Some have an abundance knowledge and are called to teach; some have an abundance of sympathy and give in mercy, some have an abundance of practical skill and give out of that abundance. The gift of giving is serving with our material abundance. There are those who are providentially situated to be generous, that is why Paul commands the rich to be generous, 1 Tim. 6:17-19, ‘As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.’ But the gift of giving is not only in those who have means to be generous, but whose hearts have been gripped by grace that even out of their poverty, or whatever resource they have be it time or talent, they give generously with it. Mark 12:41-44, ‘And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”’
Paul tells us in 12:8 that those with the gift of giving they should do it generously. Now there are two possible understandings of the word ‘generous’. It could mean ‘sincerity’ or it could mean ‘generosity.’ The word can literally mean ‘simplicity.’ The sense being, with singleness of heart and intent, hence the meaning ‘sincerity.’ This is how it is translated in 2 Cor. 11:3, ‘But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’ But the notion of generosity is just as viable, 2 Cor. 8:2, ‘for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.’ We will not choose between the two but show how both are apt as we look at the gift of giving. So today as we explore the gift of giving we will look at giving and sincerity, giving and generosity.