Pondering the Principles of Proverbs
However, the three here mentioned in the quote would serve us well if we were to develop these as character traits in each individual.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered. (Pro. 11:24-25 ESV)
A person who practices generosity of time and resources usually finds there is more with which to be generous.
One who is not generous usually finds that there is never enough--even if that may be simply a misguided perception on their part.
This verse ties in quite well with what Jesus said in Luke 6:38--"Give, and it shall be given to you; pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give unto you."
One of the saddest misapplications of scripture I have witnessed surrounds this verse.
There are an untold number of preachers who use this verse to encourage people to be generous with their money. (Of course, we all know where they usually intend that generosity be directed.)
Yet, the context of the passage in Luke has nothing to do with money in its context.
Please allow me to quote the entire passage from the NIV:
27“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Doesn't say, does it?
So, yes, it could be taken to apply to money; but we do the verse and the people who hear it an injustice when we only speak of giving money.
Within its context, it is talking of giving mercy, love, forgiveness.
Everything except money.
Excepting, of course, the thought of lending to our enemies--and who would ever consider doing such an unwise thing?
Why are these never mentioned in the sermons on giving taken from this verse? (that's another story better left for another rant at a different time.)
Gentleness, self-sacrifice, and generosity are the thoughts of this passage, and they can well be the thoughts of the proverb under consideration.
Give of these, and your life will grow richer.
Withhold these from whom it is due, and grow poorer.
It is a universal law that anyone can begin to apply and reap the benefits associated with it.
All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.
If you haven't already, sign up to have these studies FREELY delivered directly to your inbox. The link is just above the picture of the ugly guy who writes this stuff. Your e-mail address is safe with me, and will NEVER be given, sold, rented, or otherwise distributed to anyone else. Nor will I use it to solicit you by any other means. You will have the option to opt out of receiving the e-mails with each and every posting.