Thursday, May 31, 2012
Right now I'm reading in Proverbs, and I'm reading it in the Message paraphrase. This morning this verse struck me.
Proverbs 11:24 - The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
It struck me in a few different ways. It would be easy to think that this verse is describing some sort of mystic backwards financial strategy - the more money I give away, the more money I will get. That somehow God will bless me more financially for giving to others. To be honest, that's the first thing that came to mind for me.
But I don't think that is what this verse is saying. I don't even know if this verse is about money primarily. We can be generous with money, but also with our time, our love, our talents, our possessions, our homes.
And the world getting larger and larger for the generous? I think this is about people, not financial return. As Shane Claiborne would say, this is about a new economy where money loses its power, where the more you give to others, the larger your community becomes and the more we take care of one another.
The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller because those who hold onto their money, time and love with clenched fists are only trying to take care of themselves. They are hoarders of their wealth, cautious with their hearts and because of that their world is confined to the places and people they feel they can control.
The world of the generous gets larger and larger because they are consistently touching more and more peoples lives. Giving of our money, time, or love doesn't necessarily mean we will get those things back in exact or larger portions, but I think it does mean that God will use our expanding family and community to take care of us when a need arises. With a perspective of abundance and reliance on God, we love one another, care for one another's needs and burdens, and continue to embrace those who God brings our way.