As we read through Proverbs, it’s difficult to summarize the entire chapters into some kind of meaningful cohesive thought. Afterall, the word proverb means “A short pithy saying in frequent and widespread use that expresses a basic truth or practical precept.” And each chapter is full of ’em.
Today as I read chapter 11 there were two verses that stuck out among the rest:
24 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.
To be blunt, I know what my spiritual gifts are and giving just isn’t among them. However, as I read these verses last night and again this morning, I was reminded of a concept that I heard in a sermon long ago: when we’re needy in a certain area, pray for others with that need and God will, in turn, also bless you in that area. Now, that’s not the exact words, but I hope you get the idea.
For example, verse 24 talks about giving. Solomon is teaching the concept that a generous giver gains even more, but one who hoards will end up broke. How can this be? I’ve been told to “save, save, save” all my life. If I give it away, won’t I end up broke? Not if God is telling you to give. That’s the key. Listen to God conerning giving and He will provide your increase. Trust in yourself (or your bank) and you’re on your own to deal with the likes of theft, unforseen repairs, unnecessary expenses, divorce, or any number of rust/moth-driven expenses.
The real eye-opener for me in these two little verses was that this is not always just about money. Look at verse 25 again: “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” How do you refresh someone? Perhaps it’s a word of encouragement, or praying with someone. Perhaps it’s blessing someone with an anonymous surprise or leaving a note under their pillow (as my little one is famous for).
As you listen to the Holy Spirit for guidence, look for opportunities to refresh someone. You’ll find that you, yourself, will be refreshed. Are you sick? Pray for someone who is sick. Are you financially strained? Pray for those less fortunate than you.