Scripture Lesson:

A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

Proverbs 18:16


This is probably one of the most misinterpreted scriptures in the Bible. Like many people, I heard this scripture quoted often in the context that your spiritual gifts (the ones found in 1 Corinthians and other places in the New Testament). It would be preached in sermons which encouraged people to use, or as some would say, allow themselves to be used, by the Holy Spirit.

The premise of the idea that your spiritual gifts will allow you to be used by God in awesome ways during amazing situations which will result in the attention of “great men” is awesome.  However, that is not what this verse is speaking of. The word used here for “gift” has nothing to do with your spiritual gifts; it’s all about real, tangible gifts. Although there was evidence of spiritual gifts in the Old Testament, the whole idea of spiritual gifts is really a New Testament concept.

The Hebrew word used here is mattan which literally means a gift, offering or present. The idea was simple. The gift a person gives, whether that is actual money or time, will make people take notice. That gift will get the attention of those in power. While this may not be the interpretation that we want, it is simply a truth. We have seen it played out millions of times in the media where a philanthropist has given a large donation for a particular cause and now they are being honored by people around the world for their generosity.

You may not agree with how our culture portrays this type of activity. You may even question the motives of those that give large sums of money in order to have a wing of a hospital named after them or some other similar activity. That really is not the point of this scripture. In this scripture, Solomon is simply sharing a little wisdom; one way to get the attention of important people is to be generous. It’s not an indictment on those that don’t give. It is just stating a truth of his time.  That truth is as alive today as it was back in Solomon’s day.

How generous are you? I know that’s a loaded question and it may have sent your defenses into overdrive. However, instead of questioning the motives of others, let’s examine the one person, the only person we have control over; ourselves. Allow Solomon’s words to encourage you today. If you are generous and give of your resources, including your money and time, your gift will make room for you and will get the attention of important people. What will you do with that attention?


Lord, help me to be generous. Allow me to hear your instructions on what to give and who to give it to.  Show me how to be a witness of you in the company of important people. Help me to realize that all people are important because you created them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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