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  • Shari McRae

Generosity

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

—Proverbs 11:25


Recently my husband and I went on a little getaway to Savannah, Georgia. We had a wonderful time in this beautiful city that is steeped in a fascinating history. We toured beautiful old mansions and heard stories about how their wealthy owners utilized the latest developments in architecture and furnishings for the purpose of displaying their power and possessions; possessions which sadly included enslaved individuals. We toured the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, which boasted towering and intricate monuments erected to commemorate the lives of the 19th century rich and famous. So much wealth was poured into structures that today are crumbling testaments to names that few know or remember. It was a humbling lesson for both of us as we walked and talked, looked and listened.


We asked ourselves: what are we investing our resources in, and will those investments have eternal value?

It’s easy to point our fingers at those who lived a century or more before us, but some things never change! This powerful Scripture should be a wake-up call for all of us who are seeking to live God-honoring lives in the midst of a culture that still values wealth and power.


A generous man will prosper…the original language here means someone who is liberal with blessings. When we actively seek to bless others, and regularly look for opportunities to do so, God promises that we will prosper! Being “prosperous” can take many forms. My parents were always a wonderful example to us of living with abundantly generous hearts. While they were never materially wealthy, neither did they ever lack for anything; and they certainly “prospered” in all the most important ways. A wise Bible teacher once counseled, “Rather than asking ‘How much of my resources should I give to God?’ we should instead be asking, ‘How much of God’s resources should I keep?’”


Proverbs 28:27 says, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.” Throughout His word, from Genesis to Revelation, God makes it clear to us that His heart is open towards the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien. When we as His children reach out to help those who are dear to His heart, He promises us that we will never lack anything that we truly need.


The second part of this verse reads, "he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Although it is the same root word used twice here in the English translation, “refreshes” and “refreshed” are two completely different words in the original Hebrew language. The word for “refreshes” means “to drench, to water abundantly, to saturate, to slake the thirst.” The word for “refreshed” means “to flow as water (that is, to rain).”


Picture all of us responding to those in need by saturating our patch of influence, as best we can, with the little watering can of our resources. And in return, God opens the floodgates of heaven and pours down the rain of His blessing! Who would refuse that deal?


The monuments that we saw in Savannah are a witness to the past, but they provide no lasting benefit or influence other than being a source of tourist dollars. They are dead things. However, the “monuments” my grandparents and parents invested in—family, a legacy of faith, building up the kingdom of God—continue to pay out dividends both here on earth and in eternity.


What are you investing in? We must take to heart these words of Jesus:


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy,

and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

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