Gaining by Giving

Gaining by Giving

There are many paradoxes in the Christian life- last is first, loss is gain, weak is strong, and giving is receiving. There is a great polarity between the values of the world and the values of Christ’s Kingdom. For example, the world exalts the man who accumulates the most stuff- “The man who dies with the most toys wins”. Whereas God sees as rich, not the one who has accumulated much, but the one who has given much. God takes the values of the world and flips them upside down and calls us to swim upstream against the current of godless culture. The values of God’s Kingdom run against the grain of the world’s values.

So it is in the case of giving and receiving. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Now place this verse in contrast with a secular worldview: “There is that hoardeth, and yet increaseth…there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to riches. The miserly man shall be made fat….” God’s values are in complete contradistinction to this way of thinking. God says that the hand that gives is the hand that gets. Not only is this seen in this particular verse but throughout the Bible. Consider the following: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). In other words, the man or woman who scatters in generosity will reap a great harvest either in this life or the next. However, stinginess (or holding onto more than is right) leads to poverty. Notice, however, that this principle includes, but goes beyond, monetary giving. When the Bible says that the “liberal shall be made fat” it speaks of the generous person (or the one who is a blessing to others) being made “fat” (lit. prosperous). This is simply the law of sowing and reaping. The way to be watered according to verse 25 is be a waterer of others. The way to gain is to give. The way to be blessed is to be a blessing.

“Stagnant water is covered with scum; flowing water is fresh and living. He who gives his five barley loaves and two small fishes into the hands of Jesus sees the people fed and gets twelve baskets over…Set no limit to your gifts of money, time, energy; in the act of giving the whole that you have expended will return to you, and more also.” (F.B. Meyer)

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