The Purpose of Gifts

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Monday, June 10, 2013 by Jenny Thompson

Introduction

God has given us all gifts, whether we have discovered these gifts or not yet! There is actually no one of us who is not gifted in some way! He therefore is the one who gives us the desire to use these gifts in serving Him and others.

It is so easy for us to forget that without Him we are nothing and have nothing to give anyway!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

The scriptures contain many examples of gifts. For example, from the Old Testament,

“Then Moses said to the people of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft…’ ” (Exodus 35:30-36)

To the New Testament,

  • Romans 12 which includes gifts of teaching and practicing hospitality
  • Ephesians 4 talks about ministry gifts such as an evangelist
  • 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, e.g. the gift of speaking in tongues publicly

So these are all ‘varied’ and ‘valued’ gifts that God distributes among believers in the body of Christ today.

2 Chronicles 1:11-12 contains the wonderful example of Solomon, who when asked by God in verse 7,

“What do you want from me?”

…responded by saying that he wanted wisdom and knowledge so that he might rule well as the King of Israel.

Romans 12:1-12 talks about the Apostle Paul who wanted to see the believers in Rome overflowing with gratitude to God, thinking rightly about themselves and the gifts God had given them and serving one another with humility of heart.

Paul was not asking the Christians to do something that he himself was not already doing!

So these scriptures today are wonderful! The first thought that grabbed my attention was that this speaks about the ‘heart attitude’ within Solomon and the Apostle Paul.

It also speaks to us about the ‘heart attitude’ within each one of us!

2 Chronicles 1:11-12

The two books of Chronicles were one book until there was a translation into the Greek language. The men who translated the book divided it into two. This was because the length of it would fit more easily on two scrolls. That ancient translation is called the ‘Septuagint’; it dates from about 280BC.

We do not know who wrote the book of Chronicles but the writer lived after the exile, probably at the same time as Ezra (in the 5th century BC); the Israelites had come back to their country after 70 years in exile. The writer wanted to encourage them. He wanted to give them hope for the future.

So, in his book, he showed how the Lord was in control through all their history. The Lord is in control all through our history! Once we were alienated and exiled from Him, but He has brought us back into relationship with Himself through the work of the cross.

And now the Lord had brought the Israelites back to their own country. The Lord wanted them to rebuild His temple and to serve Him. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit and He has called us to serve Him!

So we pick up the story where Solomon came to Gibeon. There he burnt 1000 sacrifices on the altar. Solomon probably used the priests to give the sacrifices on his behalf. Zadok was the chief priest in Gibeon.

After Solomon gave the sacrifices, he stayed for the night in Gibeon. God appeared to him in a dream, and God told him to ask for what he wanted.

Why should God do that? God had made promises to David about Solomon. He promised that a son of David would be the next king. And God chose Solomon as that king! Solomon knew that he was King because of God’s kindness to his father David. But that was just a part of God’s promises to David.

So Solomon asked God to complete those promises. God promised to make Solomon’s kingdom strong. God promised that always there would be a King from David’s family. And God promised to be as a father to David’s son.

God gave to Solomon a special relationship like that of a son to his father. God called Israel his son. In this passage, it meant that God considered Israel’s people as a son. In the Psalms, there is the promise of the son of God who would one day come in the future (that, of course is the Lord Jesus Christ).

Because of Jesus, all people who believe in him become children of God.

Solomon asked God to give wisdom and knowledge to him. This was what David had asked the Lord to give to Solomon. David’s prayer was that Solomon would obey God’s law. Solomon asked for these gifts so that he could lead Israel. It seems that he was very aware of his lack of experience. And his responsibility as King of Israel was too much for him.

He realised that he could not do it without the help of the Lord.

Solomon had not asked for the things that we would expect. He did not ask for wealth or for possessions. He did not ask for honour or for fame. He did not ask for the strength to defeat his enemies. His desire was to rule well and God gave to Solomon what he had asked!

Solomon became famous because of his knowledge and his wisdom. In addition, God gave to Solomon what he had not requested. Solomon became extremely rich and his fame spread through the world that he knew at that time. Also, God promised to give a long life to Solomon. But that promise depended on how he obeyed God’s laws.

The writer of this book does not mention this promise. He records only what was good about this great King…

Unfortunately, Solomon did not continue to obey God’s laws all of his life. He was not as loyal to the Lord as David had been. However, at this time the desire for the gift of wisdom and knowledge that Solomon had was not a selfish one; he wanted it for the purpose of serving others!

So because Solomon’s heart motivation was not selfish, or power and position driven, God graciously gave him all these other things anyway!

We are not to have the attitude, ‘Well I hope He gives me lots of other stuff as well!’, so the important thing really is the motivation of our hearts. We can fool people and sometimes even ourselves, but we can never fool God!

If we have a secret desire for that which is not right, He will sooner or later bring it into the light! So it’s no good pretending, we might as well be honest and ask the Lord to deal with our hearts now!

What are you asking God for?

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