A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Steve, a sixty-two-year-old homeless military veteran, made his way to a warm climate where sleeping outdoors was tolerable year-round. One evening, as he displayed his hand-drawn art—his attempt to earn some money—a young woman approached and offered him several slices of pizza. Steve gratefully accepted. Moments later, Steve shared his bounty with another hungry, homeless person. Almost immediately, the same young woman resurfaced with another plate of food, acknowledging that he had been generous with what he’d been given.
Steve’s story illustrates the principle found in Proverbs 11:25 that when we’re generous with others, we’re likely to experience generosity as well. But we shouldn’t give with expecting something in return; rarely does our generosity return to us as quickly and obviously as it did for him. Rather, we give to help others in loving response to God’s instruction to do so (Philippians 2:3–4; 1 John 3:17). And when we do, God is pleased. While He’s under no obligation to refill our wallets or bellies, He often finds a way to refresh us—sometimes materially, other times spiritually.
Steve shared his second plate of pizza too with a smile and open hands. Despite his lack of resources, he is an example of what it means to live generously, willing to cheerfully share what we have with others instead of hoarding it for ourselves. As God leads and empowers us, may the same be said of us.
With whom can you share today? How have you been blessed through another’s generosity?
While the book of Proverbs contains many pithy sayings that are unrelated to each other (with the exception of chapters 1–9 and 31), there are also a surprising amount of ideas that are linked together. For example, 11:23–31 compares the righteous and the wicked and the generous and the greedy. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will be refreshed. People will curse those who hoard grain but bless the generous (vv. 24–26). In verse 28, however, it’s interesting that generosity and righteousness are linked together. “Those who trust in their riches [those unwilling to share or to be generous] will fall, but the righteous [those who share] will thrive like a green leaf.” Here the greedy are contrasted to the righteous, not to the generous. A love of money seems to have a deep impact on our character.