Proverbs 11:25 "The generous soul shall be made rich, and he who waters shall also be watered himself."
America is, for the most part, a nation of giving people, especially in times of others’ needs. We respond to tragedy in others’ lives with a willingness to help. This attitude of giving to others is something everyone admires when we see it in action. There is no better place to go, to learn of what ‘giving in action’ really is, than the story of God and His giving freely to mankind to meet our deepest, most desperate need for forgiveness.
There are two words used in the New Testament to describe God’s character of giving. The first word is ‘charizomai’, which means ‘to grant freely upon another.’ It is used almost exclusively in reference to God, who gives freely without expecting anything in return. This is what Paul means in Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely GIVE us all things?"
The second word is ‘paradidomi’, which means ‘to hand over or deliver up.’ It is used in reference to Christ, and is always connected with God’s love for us. This is the word God uses in the most recognized verse in the Bible, John 3:16 – "God so loved the world that He GAVE (‘handed over’) His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
This is also the word Paul uses in Galatians 2:20, when he describes what motivated him to commit himself 100% to a new life devoted to Jesus Christ: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and GAVE (‘handed over’) Himself for me." What revolutionized Paul’s life was when it dawned on him that Jesus Christ didn’t call him to do things out of duty or service. It was a deep sense of Christ’s service to him, by giving over His life for Paul’s welfare, without Paul having to even ask for help. Christ has given the greatest gift to us voluntarily, simply because He loves us.
But there is another word used for giving. This one deals with how you and I, as Christians who love Jesus Christ, demonstrate to the world around us God’s character of giving that is now part of who we are. This word is ‘metadidomi’, which means ‘to spend out’. God, who has richly given to all of us the gift of forgiveness and restoration in His Son Jesus Christ, now wants those who have accepted His free gift to ‘spend out’ their lives for the welfare of others, to meet their needs. This is what Paul is saying to us as Christians in Ephesians 4:28 - "Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to GIVE (‘spend out’) to him who has need."
As a Christian, are you forever thankful that God has given so generously to you? Now let Him work in and through you, that through your giving to help those in need, He might be magnified foe who He is: a loving, generous Father.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called "Faith: Substance and Evidence." He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.