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.
This is the oft repeated biblical principle that if we sow bountifully, then we will reap bountifully. Conversely, if we sow the seed sparingly, then our yields will likewise suffer. Assuming you're like me, we believe and disbelieve the promise all at the same time since such free-will giving cuts deep against the grain of our natural person. Can we honestly say that it is better to give than to receive? As an example, my 3 year old son has repeatedly reminded his mom and me last Christmas season "he wants more presents than what he 'gives' to others". I am with you son!!
But our God is not that way. He is not skimpy in His gift giving. He freely and unsparingly gave us His Son of whom the psalmist in Psalm 112 reminds us of how "He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor." If God has given us the Son, how will he not freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)?
What is beyond comprehension at times, though, is not merely that we are so often NOT like God in our own giving, but we don't even admire God when he himself is so generous. Remember Jonah's anger when God showed mercy in saving those despicable foreigners? Remember the Pharisees’ disgust with Jesus' dining with sinners and tax collectors? Remember the older brother's embarrassment for his father who threw an extravagant party upon the return of the prodigal son? Remember your own bitterness towards the one who received the promotion that you deserved? Remember how you thought that you could earn your salvation from God by being a "good" person? Not only do we struggle to give freely, we struggle with a God who gives freely too. Our God is not a god of greed mythology who needs to be manipulated into giving good gifts. God is free so as to never give under compulsion. That’s what makes Him different.
Let's remember how reckless our God is with overflowing generosity. If you do, this hard to believe Proverb will become a little easier to understand and follow. In your living it out, you will put on display your treasure in a God who out of His abundance is daily lavishing upon you unearned favor.
All posts in this "Proverbs and Money" series were submitted by a friend of Aaron's who wishes to remain anonymous.