By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
Focal Passage: Proverbs 11:23-29
Proverbs offers practical instructions on the use of money. Money is essential for living; however, believers are to recognize that God requires accountability. No matter how hard a person has toiled, in reality God is the source of all blessings. God’s blessings are not given to be hoarded but to be shared (II Kings 4:1-7). The blessing of God is promised to those who give generously to God’s work and God’s people.
A believer is to be generous with what God has given (Proverbs 11:23-26). In v. 23 the desires of the righteous and the desires of the wicked are seen. The righteous desire what is good and beneficial. In contrast, the desires of the wicked lead to wrath. Verse 24 presents a paradox. A person who freely gives will always have plenty, but a person who is miserly and fails to help those in need will himself always be in need. If a person freely shares their resources with others, God will bless them with even more. Generosity is like a seed. In the spring the seed seems lost as it is planted in the ground. Yet, it springs up in time bringing even more seed with it. Jesus said, “give and it will be given to you” (Luke 6:38). God supernaturally blesses generosity. If a person refuses to be charitable, they often find themselves working against God. Poverty usually will be the result. What seems prudent to the miserly person can have the opposite effect. When he opens his clenched fist, he may find that his increase has disappeared.
This Scripture presents two symbols of generosity: water and grain. Water was a precious commodity and something desired by those who were thirsty. In Matthew 10:38, Jesus said a person who gave a cold cup of water in His name would be blessed. In other words, God blesses those who are a blessing to others. The blessing is that the one who gives the cup of water is refreshed himself as well as the one who receives the cup of water. The second symbol is a person who has a supply of grain yet refuses to sell it until it is in short supply. That short supply causes such exorbitant prices that the needy are unable to purchase the needed commodity. Yet the righteous will do what will benefit everyone. People curse the greedy who put gain above the needs of others, but bless the man who values people more than profit.
A believer is to honor God by doing good with their money (vv. 27-29). Wealth gives a false security and can tempt a person to turn away from God. The person who trusts in wealth is like a branch broken off from a tree. That branch may be rich with fruit and green leaves, but only for a short period of time. The righteous will flourish because of the connection to the true source of life, God Himself. Wealth is not in and of itself bad. However it was never intended to sustain life. Wealth is intended only to enrich life. Often the ungodly will lose wealth through mismanagement which brings trouble to a household. In the end the ungodly is left with a handful of nothing.
Years ago a dear lady left her church a large sum of money. Shortly after her death, the church fell on hard financial times. That church would have closed its doors if not for the resources she had given the church through her estate. Because of her generosity, the church is a thriving congregation today.