Giving, Ruling, and Showing Mercy in the Church

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

– Romans 12:8

“he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity”

We use the word simplicity in many different ways. The way it is used here is the same way a member of the church would write a “get well soon” card to a sick member simply because they miss them at church. There is no ulterior motive. The card is not written so the sick member can be taken advantage of when they get back to church. The card is written simply for one reason. I’ve been given gifts from members of the church that have really touched my heart. There have been times I have broken down in tears, overwhelmed with the simple love a member had for me in giving me a gift. I’ve been touched by gifts given to me from a simple can of ginger ale to a simple card written to say I’m being prayed for. These were simple gifts – given with no ulterior motive – given with singleness of heart. I’ve also been given gifts WITH ulterior motives. I’ve been given some gifts which obligated me to do something for the giver. There have been other gifts given in which the giver desired glory for himself in being selfless. We are told to give with simplicity. When you give a gift to bless someone in the church, do not give to expect something in return. When you give, don’t give to glorify yourself. If your flesh struggles in this area, try giving without telling anyone. Make the gift anonymous! You can have fun with it!

“he that ruleth, with diligence”

There is a gift of government (1 Corinthians 12:28). This is a SPIRITUAL gift, not a natural ability. There are some natural leaders with great leadership skills, but God can use someone without leadership skills to lead the church in the direction He wants the church to go. The man that comes to mind is Moses. I don’t believe you can find in our Bible where Moses had natural leadership skills. Not only was he slow of speech and lacking in eloquence (Exodus 4:10), he “was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” – Numbers 12:3). The picture I get is that he was not very good at public speaking and had no desire to be a public figure. Let me ask you this though. Can YOU find another man who led 2.4 million people out of one country to another? This is how God works! “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). He is magnified through flawed individuals.

We’ll probably have a more in-depth Doctrinal Study on spiritual gifts where we’ll dig into this deeper, but for right now we will just look at HOW ruling takes place in the church. Usually when we see the word “rule” we think of a leader in a high, prestigious position, but “rule” can refer to any position of management or leading. Activities in the church have to be managed or lead by someone, and that job should not fall upon the pastor all the time. There should be godly leadership involved in planning fellowships, fundraisers, and outings along with managing the property of the church, organizing outreaches, managing communication between the church and its missionaries, and many many other activities. There are all kinds of operations in the church. We need the right kind of leadership. So notice the one characteristic of godly leadership Paul felt important to single out – diligence. We use the word “diligence” in many ways but here the word refers to “swiftness” or “eagerness.” The idea is that a godly leader RUSHES to his job. He is SWIFT to fulfill his duties. He is EAGER and EXCITED. Did you get that? Do you see in this word ANY idea at all of apathy? I sure don’t! Listen, if you sign up to manage an activity, you didn’t just sign a piece of paper, YOU MADE A PROMISE TO GOD that you will rush to your assignment, you will be swift in fulfilling your duties, you will maintain an attitude of eagerness in the activity, and you will be EXCITED! I’m sure ALL churches could use some of this kind of leadership. Throw the attitude of apathy back into hell where it belongs! If you sign up to lead in an activity, you better put your very best effort into it. If you aren’t going to do that, and nobody else in the church is willing to do that, until attitudes get right, THE ACTIVITY DOES NOT NEED TO TAKE PLACE. No matter what leadership role it is – from the pastor to a fundraiser organizer, the ruling needs to be performed with DILIGENCE.

“he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness”

Again, rather than pointing to a spiritual gift, Paul simply states HOW to shew mercy. There are spiritual gifts under which “shewing mercy” can be included, but here we are simply told that mercy should be shown with cheerfulness. Mercy usually takes place when either a deserved punishment or consequence is held back (See By the Mercies of God – March 22, 2020). Mercy can occur when fellowship to an erring one in the church is restored. There may be that one in the church who has wronged another in the church. If he repents, the wronged one should show mercy to the erring one. This mercy however should not be shown out of self-righteousness or pride, but out of cheerfulness. “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Consider the mercies of God. Consider how GOD for CHRIST’S sake hath forgiven you! Did you catch that?! GOD the FATHER showed mercy and GOD the SON showed mercy! Shouldn’t we therefore be cheerful in showing mercy to others? In a matter of fact, it looks as though we should be RUNNING to show mercy to people! EAGER to show mercy. EXCITED to show mercy. Why? That’s what God did for us.

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