Giving and Receiving

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Prov. 11:25).

- Proverbs 11:24-26

Divine blessings shape a person’s destiny, which is why Jacob conspired to lay hold of the better blessing from Isaac and why Esau mourned greatly when he did not receive it (Gen. 27:1–45). Yet Scripture also speaks of blessings that human beings may bring to one another, and it promises good things to those who use what they have to bless others, as we see in today’s passage.

One commentator has noted that God’s economy does not always work as we might expect it to operate. To become rich and successful according to the world’s standards, one is generally encouraged to invest every penny in himself. The Bible, on the other hand, tells us the one who “gives freely” actually “grows more blessed” (Prov. 11:24). Paradoxically, the more a person gives away to needy people and the work of the kingdom, the more blessings they will receive (though not necessarily financial).

All this is not to say that we must give away every penny that we earn and make no place for savings or investment. Scripture, after all, commends those who save and invest their money wisely (13:11; 21:20; 30:24–25). There is a difference, however, between persons who give freely out of their abundance in conjunction with wise financial planning for the future and those who put all their hope in their savings account and refuse to help out when there is a true need. Scripture commends the former and condemns the latter (Luke 12:13–21). Furthermore, Proverbs 11:24–26 is not endorsing a mechanistic formula — if I give a specific amount away, then God will always give me a certain amount in return. This proverb just makes the observation that those who follow the Lord’s call to generosity will often be blessed to a greater extent in this life, though not necessarily with material goods.

The kind of giving that brings blessing is not limited only to the generous giving of resources but also includes forms of giving for which we are compensated. Proverbs 11:26 blesses the one who sells grain without holding it back. In other words, it is wicked for merchants to hold back their product when it is needed in order to drive up prices through artificial scarcity. Sellers who refuse this wicked practice, which especially hurts the poor, and do not hold back their inventories to enrich themselves on the backs of the oppressed can expect to see divine blessing in their lives.

Coram Deo

The honest production and sale of needed resources is an honorable way to meet the needs of others, and it therefore can bring with it a blessing. Giving away portions of our income to feed the hungry and support the work of the church can also bring with it a blessing. If we would maximize the divine blessings in our lives, then we should be looking for creative ways to give to others and provide for them what they cannot provide for themselves.

Passages for Further Study

Leviticus 23:22
Proverbs 14:21, 31
Luke 14:12–24
Galatians 2:10

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