A Loving Spirit
Another mark of spiritual service is a loving spirit. Paul wanted to visit the Roman believers in order to serve them lovingly in God’s name. He did not want to go as a tourist to see the famous Appian Way or the Forum or the Coliseum or the chariot races. He wanted to go to Rome to give of himself, not to entertain or indulge himself.
Paul’s ministry goal was to "present every man complete in Christ”. That’s why he worked so selflessly. (Col. 1:28-29).
The apostle’s loving spirit is reflected beautifully in his first letter to Thessalonica. (1 Thess. 2:7-9).
The foremost characteristic of genuine love is selfless giving, and it was out of such love that Paul assured the church in Corinth, "I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls" (2 Cor. 12:15). Willingness to spend was willingness to use all his resources and energy in their behalf, and willingness to be spent was willingness to die for them if necessary.
Paul was burdened for the physical welfare of the Roman believers, but his overriding concern was for their spiritual well-being, and therefore his principal purpose for longing to see them was that he might impart to them some spiritual gift.
The gift Paul wanted to impart was spiritual not only in the sense of being in the spiritual realm but in the sense that it had its source in the Holy Spirit. Because he was writing to believers, Paul was not speaking about the free gift of salvation through Christ about which he speaks in 5:15-16. Nor could he have been speaking about the gifts he discusses in chapter 12:6-8, because those gifts are bestowed directly by the Spirit Himself, not through a human instrument.
• Impart – to give over, i.e. to share
He must therefore have been using the term spiritual gift in its broadest sense, referring to any kind of divinely-empowered spiritual benefit he could bring to the Roman Christians by preaching, teaching, exhorting, comforting, praying, guiding, and disciplining.
Whatever particular blessings the apostle had in mind, they were not of the superficial, self-centered sort that many church members crave today. He was not interested in tickling their ears or satisfying their religious curiosity.
Paul wanted to impart the spiritual blessings in order for the Roman believers to be established. He wanted those spiritual brothers and sisters "to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4:15).