Jump Start # 2908
Jump Start # 2908
Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”
This is the story of two Christians. They were well liked by everyone in the congregation, but deep inside they are very different. One was very generous. That was just the way he was raised and he kicked it up a few more notches when He learned how generous the Lord had been to him. His weekly contribution demonstrated his generosity. But beyond that, he was always there to help others out. He loaned his truck to someone who needed it to move. He was known to hand a struggling family a few twenties after services. If there was a special need, he’d be one of the first to help out or fund it. This man often said, “You can’t take it with you,” so he was delighted to help others any way he could.
The other Christian made a lot more than the first one in this story. But he was very tight with his money. He rarely did anything beyond giving a few dollars to the collection basket on Sunday. He worked hard and felt it was his and that’s how he viewed things. He didn’t make the connection to his blessings and the generosity of God. This man rarely gave something away. He’d sell to you and you can be sure he got top dollar for it as well. That’ just the way he was. If he could get someone to do something for free, he’d work his way until that was accomplished. Even though he could have easily paid, he wouldn’t do that.
Through the years a huge difference between the way these two viewed life and their possessions became evident. The first man touched so many lives. He enjoyed giving about as much as the people he helped enjoyed receiving. The second man kept storing up and storing up his wealth. He bought things for himself and that was about all. This man was always worried about running out of money someday.
Such it is in many congregations: the generous spirit and the tightwad. Often it is not based upon how much they make or have but rather their inner spirit and their faith. Many times, it is the one who doesn’t have much that has that generous spirit. And, as our verse expresses it so well, “he who waters will himself be watered.” In helping others and being a blessing to them, they became a blessing to him. The fellowship and the connections were tighter and tighter. A bond was established and it was strong and enduring. That comes from being generous.
Some lessons we learn from this:
First, it’s hard for some to let go of things and be generous. They pay taxes because they have to. They pay this fee and that fee. But to go out of their way and on their own to give someone something, that’s just not in their nature and it’s hard. Lessons on giving makes this sort of spirit uncomfortable. When in the leadership position, it is this kind of heart that builds massive bank accounts for the church, while the church building looks like a dump and brethren are struggling.
Second, the generous spirit is contagious. Once one has been a recipient of someone’s kindness and generosity it’s much easier for you to be that same way. The idea of “paying forward” catches on much easier when on has seen what it has done for them. It doesn’t have to be large amounts. A simple gift card to a college student, a book for a young preacher, little acts of kindness that reflect that your heart has been touched by someone who was generous to you.
Third, God has been more than generous to us. That’s the point of the parable about the laborers in the vineyard. The man that worked just one hour received the same as those who worked all day. It wasn’t about equality, but generosity. Look at your life and how God has blessed you. There are no price tags on many things that are so dear to us such as health, family, truth, salvation, hope, love. If a price tag was put on those things, they would be out of reach for most of us. God sends rain and sunshine. We have been blessed by our wonderful Lord. When we do not do the same and do not share, especially outside of our family, it certainly makes us look spoiled. I wonder if the Lord ever thinks about cutting off our blessings just to teach us some lessons.
Fourth, one day all of the things we have will be gone. They will be gone because we will be gone. We can’t take them with us. They will be left to other people. And, those others may not cherish these things as you do. Out to a garage sale or the dump will many of the things we treasure go someday. And, of course, the Lord is coming and when He does all these things will be burned up. They won’t last. I have some arrowheads. They are old, very old. But they won’t last. Nothing will. We hold on to things and often cannot give to others because we want and we want, but in the end, they will be taken away.
Generous or stingy? Giver or a tightwad? Being a blessing to others or being selfish? Helping others or making others wonder what’s going on in our hearts?
Two Christians—one is a blessing to everyone around him. He gives. He shares. He helps. The other is all talk. He keeps his wallet closed. He doesn’t think about sharing. He believes it is all his and that’s the way it will stay.
Which one would you rather be around? Which one are you?