While the stingy hope to keep more for themselves, God’s Word is clear that the opposite results.
Since Proverbs has thirty-one chapters it works well to read a chapter each morning. This provides wisdom to take with you throughout the day. We often do this for our morning family Bible study, especially on days when I say to myself, “What should we do today?” or “I don’t feel like continuing through…” This was the case yesterday, and I was particularly struck by the consecutive proverbs related to giving. A clear principle developed in Proverbs 11:24-
A stingy heart leads to poverty while generosity secures blessing
Proverbs 11:24 There is one who scatters (or gives freely as it’s translated in some Bibles: NIV, NLT, ESV, HCSB, ISV), yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.
Someone who’s very generous receives more as a result. It’s reminiscent of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
In contrast, the second half of the verse says someone who’s stingy – despite their best efforts to have more – ends up poor.
Proverbs 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters (or refreshes in NIV, NLT), will also be watered himself.
Again the generous person is blessed, but with the word waters or refreshes it goes beyond giving financially to giving emotionally and relationally. When people join Woodland Christian Church we tell that we expect them to be giving, but we stress that it goes far beyond putting a check in the offering box. We want people to give of their time, energy, talents, etc.
Those who are stingy with their time and effort lack friends
Friendly, loving people who are interested in others will often find others friendly, loving, and interested in them. And the opposite is also true: those who are unfriendly, selfish, and uninterested in others often find it difficult to make friends and will find people uninterested in them.
Proverbs 11:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
Another contrast between the generous and stingy, continuing the same principle: the generous are blessed and the stingy are cursed. This proverb, like the previous one, also goes beyond a discussion of finances to our relationships with people. It’s not financial gain or loss, but social gain or loss. People can’t stand the greedy, but they love the giving. Being generous moves beyond just being blessed financially to being blessed in our relationships with others.
Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
This last verse gives a strong encouragement regarding finances: we shouldn’t put our trust in them. Putting our confidence in our bank accounts will lead to failure. Instead we need to pursue righteousness – which is available by grace through faith in Christ – and that’s what our confidence needs to be in.
Have you found these warnings to be true? Do you think of being stingy only with money, or do you see how it relates to our time and energy too? Share any thoughts or questions below!