Generosity; February 1, 2021

Proverbs 11:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

It’s interesting how many people seem quite unable to grasp this principle. It applies in so many areas that you couldn’t really list them all. For example, if you want friends, you need to be a friend to others. The surest way to lack is to focus on yourself and your own needs. One of the fundamental tenets of counseling is that selfishness, being self-centered, never leads to happiness. God created mankind because that’s just who He is; He loves to give, and He wanted children to give to. He created us in His image, (Genesis 1:27) so we too are fulfilled only when we have someone to give to. The devil does all he can to hide that from us, promoting selfishness at every turn, but as always, everything he does is a lie. Sometimes he twists this principle around, making us unwilling to receive, but that is depriving others of the blessing of giving. It is when we recognize that God is the Source of everything we need, physically, materially, emotionally, spiritually, that we are able to open up to let Him flow all of that both to us and through us. We were never meant to be cisterns of anything, but rather channels of blessing, as the hymn says.

As in just about everything else, my performance in this area has been spotty. I have tasted how good it feels to be a source of supply for someone else, but I still feel grabby about things at times. One of the secrets to our very good marriage, that so far has run for over 51 years, is that I realized right from the start that my greatest happiness and pleasure came from blessing my wife, and I think she recognized the same principle in return. We haven’t been perfect at it, but had either of us been focused on I-my-me-mine, it would not have gone so well. However, each of us has also had to learn how to receive what the other has given, to allow the other to have that pleasure of giving. The marital relationship is the most intimate we have on this earth, but the principle applies much more broadly as well, just as this verse says. I love to hear from the Lord, and I find that sharing what I have heard cements that truth more effectively in my heart and life than just about anything else. (Of course, I do need to be careful to OBEY what God says to me!) One thing I have to be careful about is the tendency to come across as “the authority,” essentially talking down to people. That is never the way to bless them or receive blessing myself. I must always remember, and demonstrate, that everything I have is by the grace of God, and give Him the gratitude and glory that He alone deserves.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Yesterday being a 5th Sunday we just had praise and testimonies and no sermon, and it felt strange, even though we do this just about every 5th Sunday. Keep me from insisting how I am to give to others, as well as what I am willing to receive. Help me be totally sensitive and submitted to Your Spirit in every area of giving and receiving, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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