Devotion - July 25, 2014
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Much of the wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs makes sense to us. Laziness will result in poverty while diligent work will bring wealth (10:4). Those who heed discipline are wise while those who refuse to be corrected are foolish (12:1). Spend time with those who are truly wise and you will become wise. Spending time with fools will only bring you harm (13:20). The relationship between cause and effect in these encouragements fits well with what we understand to be rules of life.
However, something seems to be backward here: Give away what you have and you will gain even more. Hold tightly to what you have and you will become poor. This doesn’t seem to add up. Conventional wisdom says, “The more you give away the less you have. The more you save the more you get to keep.”
We do not have a God who operates with conventional wisdom. We have a God who punished the innocent (his own Son) so that the guilty (you and me) could go free and be rewarded with eternal life.
That’s not the way things are supposed to work. The guilty are supposed to be punished, the innocent rewarded. Our loving and gracious God does not do things the way they are “supposed” to be done. He showers blessings on us even though we in no way deserve them.
He gives us those blessing for a purpose. He graciously gives us money and material possessions not just so that we can hoard them and keep them to ourselves. He blesses us in order to give us the opportunity to be a blessing to others.
When we are generous with what we have been given, God promises that we will gain even more. We might not receive back the exact same as we have been given. Money given away may not result in a two-fold return. However, good will, friends, appreciation and thanks, as well as the knowledge that we are using our gifts in a way that is pleasing to God–-these are all refreshing, positive returns on investments of generosity.
God wants us to use what he has given us to bless others. He graciously promises to bless us when we do.
Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you have given to me, especially the gift of eternal life through your Son Jesus. Help me to use the earthly things I have to bless others. In the name of your Son, Jesus, my Savior. Amen.
“Summer with Solomon” is a special series of Daily Devotions on Thursday and Friday based on readings from the book of Proverbs.
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