One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
The one who gives freely already is ahead because he is free from the control of money and possessions. His security and self-esteem is not bound to possessions; rather, his joy is in blessing others and in furthering the work of God’s kingdom. To put it another way, it is bearing fruit that gives him delight. The “Scrooge,” however, is a slave to money and possessions, always fearful of losing them. Even if he may be compelled to give some small amount away, he loses because his focus is on his loss, not on the blessing he imparts.
The irony that the proverb notes is that the generous giver typically ends up richer than the money-keeper. I’m reminded of a fundraisers’ seminar I attended. The speaker noted the difference between those who inherit wealth and those who earned their wealth. The former, when considering if and how much to give, think in terms of subtracting from their wealth. (If I have 10 million and give 1 million, I will have 9 million left over.) The latter, on the other hand, believes he will be able to replace what he has given.
But the proverb’s point is not that givers know how to earn money better than nongivers, but that God who sees all and controls all will bless the person who is like him in giving. For God is a generous giver. And he especially delights in giving to real need, in giving cheerfully, in giving generously, and in giving to please God.
God gave his Son freely and with delight. The Son gave freely of himself. The Father and the Son give freely the Holy Spirit. Just have we have been freed from bondage of sin to live righteously, so we have been made wealthy in Christ so that we may give freely. What will you give today? Will it be money? A gift? A possession? An act of friendship? The gospel? Pray that today you will give generously.
1 Samuel 24
24 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi.’ 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheepfolds along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, ‘This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, “I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.”’ Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterwards, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, ‘My lord the king!’ When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen when men say, “David is bent on harming you”? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord gave you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, “I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.” 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, “From evildoers come evil deeds,” so my hand will not touch you.
14 ‘Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.’
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, ‘Is that your voice, David my son?’ And he wept aloud. 17 ‘You are more righteous than I,’ he said. ‘You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord gave me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.’
22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.