Proverbs 11:17-28 (NIV)
17 Those who are kind benefit themselves,
but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
18 A wicked person earns deceptive wages,
but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
19 Truly the righteous attain life,
but whoever pursues evil finds death.
20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will go free.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
25 A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.
27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
but evil comes to one who searches for it.
28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
This passage presents a contrasting picture of right and wrong, good and evil, generosity and stinginess. Generosity is clearly aligned with righteousness and kindness.
One in every six verses in the first three Gospels wither directly or indirectly relates to money and how we handle it.
Sixteen of Jesus’ 44 parables (more than a third) deal with the use or misuse of money. Our joyful giving to others is a measure of our gratitude and obedience to the Lord. What we spend our money on is a pretty clear indicator of where our hearts are.
There is a BIG bonus when it comes to living a life of generosity. The bonus is that God often blesses us when we bless others.
Randy Alcorn said, “God doesn’t make us rich so we can indulge ourselves and spoil our children…God gives us abundant material blessing so that we can give it away, and give it generously.” I couldn’t agree more. But agreeing with something and doing it is a completely different mater.
A recent magazine article told the story of a church in South Dakota, and its project called “Pass it Forward.” Once a month, a church family receives an envelope in the mail with a small amount of cash inside. They are to find someone in need and use the money to help or encourage others. It’s not the amount of money, but the generosity, and often the hope or joy, that such an unexpected blessing brings when someone is surprised by our gifts.
Be prayerful and creative in your generosity. Give an anonymous cash gift to a family in need. Pay for a policeman’s or soldier’s meal. But some groceries for a single mom. Write off the debt of a friend who’s struggling. Generosity isn’t always measured in dollars and cents, but it reflects our gratitude and obedience to God.
Can you recall a time when you were blessed by someone’s generosity?
What are some ways you could show generosity to others in the coming week?
I want to challenge each of us to find some way that we can give generously to someone in need. Even a small gift of love can have a profound impact on someone’s life. And that simple act can have a profound impact on your soul. I am a firm believer that it is impossible to be sad and depressed when you are doing something kind for another person. Generosity is the cheapest antidepressant you will ever find.