“Give freely and become more wealthy;
be stingy and lose everything.
The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
– Proverbs 11:24 & 25
I was reading through Proverbs a few days ago, and I read these two verses and stopped. I went back and reread the verses 3 or 4 more times and thought to myself “What exactly does this mean?” How do you give freely to others yet become wealthy? More so, how do you lose everything when you are stingy? The key to this is in verse 25, as I believe that you need both verses here to have a complete thought. “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” is the whole idea behind these verses. God doesn’t want you to horde up the blessings that he’s given us like a squirrel stashing acorns, rather he wants us to give freely of our blessings to those who need it.
I truly don’t believe that money is all these scriptures are referencing. We can give wisdom, encouragement, insight, experience and assistance to those who are in need. As such, we don’t always have to give money to anyone who asks us. Rather we should seek to teach others so they can pass that knowledge on. In such a materialistic society as the USA in 2016, it’s hard to think of wealth without immediately thinking of money and/or wanting to compare what you have with “the Jones’”.
More than Money
The wealth Solomon is talking about here goes far beyond currency and our lack/surplus of it. When we give freely to others of our time, energy, knowledge, advice and more we reap many rewards whether we expect to or not. We gain friends, trust, respect and a good name just to start with. These are the important things in life that we simply can’t buy by throwing money at it.
The prevailing “fix” in society today is to throw money at problems to get them to shut up, fall in line or change to our will. A fat bank account can’t be trusted to watch your children in an emergency or check on and help your elderly parents/grandparents through the week. A fat bank account won’t pick up the phone when you call in the middle of the night because no one else listens and you simply need to talk to your friend.
A Generous Heart
When we help others with a willing and generous heart, it should remind us of how blessed we are. This act of service should tell you a story about how you’ve been blessed to the point where your needs have been met in this life, and so much so that you have more to spare. Having a giving heart reminds us that no matter how much or how little we have, in the end it’s not ours. Yeah, it sits in our home, our car, our bank account, our retirement account, etc… etc…. but when life is done it stays behind.
The words of Apostle Paul, in Acts 20:35 perfectly capture the essence of what Solomon is telling us:
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
I want to continue working hard so that I can give my God what’s his, support my family and help others on this path we call Life.