For reading & meditation: Proverbs 11:16-24
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another with holds unduly, but comes to poverty.” (v.24)
What all the passages in Proverbs which talk about generosity are really teaching us is that selfishness short-circuits human happiness and that the route to joy is liberality – liberality with our talents, our treasure and our time. Today’s text is, of course, difficult for some to accept because it violates all the rules of mathematics. How can it be that the more you give away the more you have? It doesnt seem logical! Well, let Lord Bertrand Russell, one of the greatest mathematicians of the century, comment on that: “Mathematics and logic have nothing to do with reality.” David Rivett, a chartered accountant and one of the directors of CWR – Crusade for World Revival – says that since he has been with the organization he has found that God has a quite different arithmetic from what he as an accountant has been used to. For example – what do five and two make? Seven? Yes, in man’s arithmetic, but not in God’s. In God’s arithmetic five and two make five thousand. How come? Well, five loaves and two fish – the little lunch which a boy once gave to Jesus – was taken by Him and turned into enough food to feed five thousand. And just to add to the point – twelve baskets of fragments were gathered up after everyone had eaten their fill! Nature, we are told, abhors a vacuum; it is the same in the spiritual realm. Liberality and generosity create a vacuum into which God flows, enabling us to give and to go on giving. I cannot explain it, but I have seen it happen again and again.
O God, You who are always reaching out to me in generosity and love, help me this day to do the same. May You use my generosity to touch the lives of others. For Your own dear Name’s sake. Amen.
For further study:
1. How did the disciples view this extravagant act?
2. How did Jesus view it?