Barnabas … owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
In Romans 12:8, Paul mentioned the spiritual gifts of exhortation and giving. The first gift we will look at today is exhortation. The gift of exhortation is the desire and the ability to help people solve their problems by applying God’s Word to their lives. If you were looking for practical ways to get out of a dilemma, you would go to somebody with the gift of exhortation. A person with the gift of exhortation takes Scripture and helps people apply it to their lives.
A person with the gift of exhortation has several characteristics. First, he or she is usually gifted in counseling. Second, people with this gift usually prefer one-on-one counseling to groups so they can see the results of their teaching. Third, a person with this gift likes practical application. They want to know, “How does this apply to my life?”
When I think about the gift of exhortation, I think of King Solomon. What is Proverbs but a book of practical applications? The book of Proverbs will not tell you anything about the next life, but it tells you how to live successfully in this life. That is the gift of exhortation.
The next spiritual gift that Paul mentioned in Romans 12:8 is the gift of giving. This is the desire and the ability to use one’s personal assets to further the kingdom of God. God wants us all to be givers, but He has given some people a special motivation and ability to further His kingdom through their giving.
There are several unique characteristics of this gift. First, people with the gift of giving use their assets to further God’s kingdom. Second, they usually like to give anonymously. Third, a person with this gift does not like pressure appeals. They want the freedom to let God impress upon them whether to give. And fourth, a person with this gift wants to motivate others to give as well. Often, a person with the gift of giving will agree to match dollar for dollar what everybody else gives. They want other people to experience the same joy of giving that they experience.
When I think of somebody in the Bible who had the gift of giving, I think about Barnabas. In Acts 4:37, Barnabas sold a piece of land, took the proceeds, and laid them at the apostles’ feet. Why did he do that? Was he seeking the limelight? No. His public demonstration of giving was to encourage other people in the church to do the same thing. And they did.
There are some dangers of this gift. The first danger is being prideful of their giving. The second danger is an overemphasis on material needs and possessions. And the third danger is equating spirituality with material success. That is the gift of giving. It is a very important gift in the body of Christ not just because these people give but because they motivate others to give as well.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You And Your Spiritual Gift” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.