January 11, 2015
Proverbs 11:24-25 (read the whole chapter)
One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs seems to lack organization. It’s like someone took a menu from a restaurant with a broad repertoire of offerings and mixed up the appetizers, salads, entrees, side items and desserts and randomly listed them without any categorical ordering. (i.e. The CheeseCake Factory– whose menu is overwhelming even when it is organized)
I tend to want my material organized neatly according to topic or subject matter rather than just randomly mixed up. But then I think about my life, and my day to day needs for wisdom aren’t so neatly organized. One minute I’m needing to wisely respond to the correction (aka rebuke) offered by my spouse. In the next, I’m working with two of my children about their choice of language in addressing each other. Later that day I’m making decisions about a future I have no clue about. Our needs for wisdom rarely comes in neat categorically arranged challenges. The orderedness of Proverbs reflects the orderedness of life. Interestingly, wisdom has a way of reordering what is disordered.
Today’s text, featured above, reveals a universal law of wisdom. We might call it the law of sowing and reaping. We live in a world that rewards selfish hoarding, yet we find ourselves in a Kingdom that favors generous giving. Somehow in the supernatural economy of God, giving most always leads to more prosperity. This can’t be explained. It does not make sense in a Wall Street economy. The more you give, it would seem, the less you have. The more you hold on to, the more you have. It’s kind of like gravity. It just works.
But what if there is an alternative form of gravity; just the opposite of the conventional approach. In the Wisdom of God, which is how life works in God’s Kingdom, the more you give the more you have and the more you hoard the less you hold on to. This isn’t the law of karma. It is the realm of Divine Grace. Conventional calculators cannot comprehend how it works. Anyone who has forayed into this reality can’t comprehend it either. They will tell you, “It just works like that.”
Jesus said something very similar when he said,
There are basically two kinds of people: givers and takers. A taker’s gonna take because at the core of their being they are convinced there will never be enough. In other words, they are practical atheists. They really don’t believe in God. A giver’s gonna give because at the core of their being they are convinced there will always be more than enough. They believe in the abundance of God.
We all want to think of ourselves as givers. Thinking it doesn’t make it so.
Wise living means generous giving. It’s how God created the world to work. It’s how God created us to live.
I’ll see you tomorrow in Proverbs 12.
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