In this article, we will look at Proverbs 18:16 and what it means, and how your gift will make room for you. So, grab your Bible and get ready to learn…
In his Godly wisdom, Solomon wrote words that still confuse many: “a man’s gift makes room for him.” Huh? What does he even mean by that??
This is just one of Solomon’s many statements that confuse Christians to this day, but a man who was that wise must have had an important point he was trying to make. So, what did Solomon mean in Proverbs 18:16? What gift is he talking about, and how will your gift make room for you? We are going to answer these questions and more.
See, God bestowed gifts on all people, whether they believe or not, and success depends on us using our gifts. We need to discover these gifts and start using them in our everyday lives to achieve the life of fullness that God wants for us because our gifts are intended for a time such as this.
Gifts have grown to mean different things. Some interpret these words of Solomon as referring to a bribe that will open doors for you and give you access to great leaders, and though that is true, it is not what the verse refers to within the greater context of the Bible. So, what does it say? Let’s study the verse and see how your gift can make room for you.
What Is The Gift That Will Make Room For You?
To understand how your gift will make room for you, we must first understand what the gift is.
Proverbs 18:16 says, “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.”
The word translated with “gift” is the Hebrew word “Mattan” (Strong’s number 4976). Other Bible verses that use it include Genesis 34:12, where it refers to a bridal gift or dowry, and Numbers 18:11, where the word is used to talk about a type of offering.
מַתָּן mattân, mat-tawn’; from H5414; a present:—gift, to give, reward.
Thus we can see that the Bible does not mean it as a spiritual gift, as in the gifts of the Spirit. Instead, it points to a physical gift you give as a kind of sacrifice. Within the verse, we can compare it with tributes people used to give to a king they had an audience with, like the ones that Solomon received and also given by the wise men who visited Jesus as a child.
To find the meaning of the gift, we have to look at Romans 12:6-8, which says the following:
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
We can see that this portion of scripture refers to gifts we each receive from God, but they are different. We can also see that they do not refer to the gifts of the Holy Spirit because even though prophecy is a gift of the Spirit, the others mentioned here are not. So Paul is referring to gifts that are a part of who we are and are not necessarily supernatural in nature.
Paul refers to any gift we have received, whether it’s a talent we can use, a service we can render, or something tangible like money that we can give.
As in Exodus 4:2, when Moses did not know how he would set the Israelites free, and God asked him what he had in his hand, God is telling us today that our gift is whatever we have available to us right now, however small or insignificant in our eyes it may be.
How Your Gift Will Make Room For You
Now that we know what the gift refers to, let’s look at how that gift should “make room for you and bring you before the great.”
1. You Are To Use Your Gift
Whatever your gift or gifts are, you are meant to use it. As in the parable of the talents that Jesus told in Matthew 25:14-30, the Master (God) gave all of us talents (various gifts), and they are not the same as those of others. He expects us to use those talents and work with them to increase them.
As in the parable, we are to use them in such a way that we increase them, not for ourselves but for our Master. We should use our gifts to honor God and build His kingdom. We can also see from the parable that when we do this, God rewards us by promoting us, the perfect example of our gifts making room for us.
2. Do Not Think Of Your Gift With Disdain
We, as Christians, tend to think either too highly or too lowly of ourselves. Humility is great, but not when it leads to us thinking our gifts are sub-par. If not careful it can go hand-in-hand with envy of other people’s gifts.
We often see a great preacher or someone who can prophesy as quickly as if they’re reading a book, then we either desire to be “that great” or decide to keep our mouths shut. Or perhaps is someone who can sing on the worship team. We shut down our gifts because we see these other gifts that seem more important than ours.
That’s not what God expects of us. Let’s refer back to Moses, who had a staff in his hands since he was a shepherd. God used that simple piece of wood to give Moses access to Pharoah, to open a way in the red sea, and to set Moses up as a leader that people still refer to in awe today.
That staff was the symbol of the incredibly great things that God did through Moses. He would not just pastor and lead sheep, but also lead God’s people. Why should your gift be any less valuable?
3. Always Remember, Your Gift Is From God, And For God’s Glory
When we look at great spiritual leaders, we can often envy them and desire to be like them even though we don’t have their gifts. And that’s fine; we are all different for a reason and it’s a wonderful thing. This is a little long portion of scripture but I think it’s worth reading when thinking of our gifts are important and make a difference.
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts. 15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body. 21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy. 27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
But think about your gift (or gifts) for a moment. Do you think God made a mistake giving you that gift in particular? Do you believe God is sitting in heaven, realizing that His master plan was thwarted because He gave you the gift you have? No! You are a unique individual in the body of Christ and without your gift in action it affects the whole body.
We must recognize that, just like Esther, God intended for us all to be born for a time such as this (Esther 4:14). You were not an accident, no matter what the circumstances of your life tell you. God placed you here, at this time, with that particular gift in you, for an excellent reason: to bring glory to Him and build His kingdom.
4. You Should Use Your Gift To Serve People
How do you build God’s kingdom and glorify Him? By using your gift(s)!
But remember that God’s kingdom is about people. Jesus came for the people, and in the process, He served them. See how God wants you to serve people with your gift and be humble enough to do what He says. If Jesus was humble enough to wash feet, then we too must be willing to.
This is in sharp contrast with how the world is today. Especially on social media where everyone tries to use their talents, gifts, or abilities to gain wealth, fame, and influence. The goal is self, never servanthood.
Even in leadership! It’s interesting in life how true leaders are the ones who serve the most people. Those who desire power and leadership hardly ever turn out to be good leaders, but those who want to serve God and other people become the most outstanding leaders, even if they don’t necessarily have the title.
That’s how your gift will make room for you: as you use your gift in humility, in service, in faith, and in bringing glory to God, God will open up more opportunities for you. Your gifts will increase, and so will your territory and your authority.
Everything we receive in life is a gift from God and a part of His perfect plan. As we use these gifts in our daily lives to honor God and serve others, God will open up more and more opportunities for us to grow and expand our influence. The world needs more believers who are willing to use their gifts to live out God’s kingdom here on earth.
Another thing I want to encourage you in is to make sure to make time for God. As we grow and develop our gifts, it’s important we spend time with Him. This helps anchor us in His truth, love, and grace.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…