There are just some things in life that you don’t or can’t understand with a natural mind.
For instance, I don’t really understand why a black and white cow can eat green grass give yellow butter and white milk.
There are things people in the world, and even some Christians, don’t or can’t understand about the things of God. However, our lack of understanding doesn’t make them any less true.
The one misunderstanding I want to focus on is found in Proverbs 11:24:
“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”
Scatterethaccording to the dictionary is define as “distributing loosely” or “sow by scattering.”
Increasethis defined as “to make greater, as in number, size, strength, or quality” or “to multiply.”
This verse goes on to say that if you withhold. . .you’ll tendeth to poverty.
According to Strong’s Concordance withholdeth means “to withhold, keep back, keep for oneself, keep from, hold in check, refrain, spare, reserve.”
Tendeth to povertyis defined as “need, want.”
So Proverbs 11:24 is saying that if you sow . . . you will multiply. If you give . . . you’ll get more but it is also saying that if you withhold seed. . . or keep it back for yourself you will live in need, want and poverty.
That seems clear enough. . .but let’s go a little further.
The Contemporary English Version uses another word instead of withholdeth… here is how it translates in Proverbs 11:24:
“. . .you can become rich by being generous or poor by being greedy.”
The New Living Translation of the verse says:
“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.”
Psalm 37:21 in the Message Bible offers a little more colorful description of what happens when you are stingy.
“Wicked borrows and never returns; Righteous gives and gives. Generous gets it all in the end; Stingy is cut off at the pass.”
Being stingy is a matter of the heart. . .stingy people are not interested in others.
2 Samuel 12:4 in the Message Bible says:
“One day a traveler dropped in on the rich man. He was too stingy to take an animal from his own herds or flocks to make a meal for his visitor, so he took the poor man's lamb and prepared a meal to set before his guest."
The scripture is clear. . .we’re not to socialize with people who are stingy.
Proverbs 23:6 in the New Living Translation says:
“Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.”
The word stingy according to dictionary.com means “reluctant to give or spend; not generous.” In other words. . .the exact opposite of being generous is to be stingy…to be reluctant to give.
Proverbs 28:22 in the New International Version has a pretty strong word about the effects of being stingy.
“A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.”
A stingy person wants to use somebody else’s money…whether it’s for their own accumulation or their own self-promotion.
That reminds me of the attitude of many in the federal government . . . they want to spend somebody else’s money. . . not their own.
I read somewhere that many members of the Congress. . .who are millionaires. . .give less than 2% of their income to charities. Of course, the members of Congress aren’t reluctant to spend or enjoy the perks of taxpayers’ money.
Some people are stingy. . .because they’ve bought into the popular cultural idea of looking out for number one (YOU) first because if you don’t, nobody else will.
“Giving to increase” is totally contrary to natural logic and human reasoning which says that if you give away something, then it’s gone forever.
But in the Kingdom of God, what you give is treated like seed. It may leave your hand but it never leaves your life.
My fine wife, Bev, likes to say that say that seed kept in the barn will never yield a harvest in the field.
Here are the twelve benefits of generosity.
1. If you want to expand your horizon and increase your opportunities, then you must be a giver.
Proverbs 11:24 in the Message Bible says:
“The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.”
2. There are scriptural benefits to being generous.
Deuteronomy 15:10 in the New Living Translation says:
“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do.”
The Message Bible translation of Deuteronomy 15:10 says it this way:
“Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.”
3. So what’s the best way to get through difficult times? I can assure you it isn’t a one- time stimulus gift from the government? How do you see your way through a financial crisis?
Psalm 112:4 in the New Living Translation says:
“Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.”
4. When everyone else is getting bad news from their employer. . .the news media or Wall Street. . .those who are generous are getting good news.
Psalm 112:5 in the New Living Translation says:
“Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly.”
5. There is only one way to limit the money that comes into your hand. . .and it has nothing to do with your circumstances, situations or problems.
2 Corinthians 9:6 in the New Living Translation says:
“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. Anything that you hold tightly in your hand. . .will never be released to become a blessing.”
6. The scripture is clear: a person who does not give generously. . .one who holds onto what they perceive to be all they have because of the current financial uncertainty . . . will only find greater economic distress. There is only one way for a fresh wind to blow in your finances.
Proverbs 11:25 in the New Living Translation says:
“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
7. Generosity guarantees that your needs will be met and that you will have enough left over to bless others.
2 Corinthians 9:8 in the New Living Translation says:
“And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”
Notice this verse says “. . .you will always have” it doesn’t say you might have, you could have, you should have. . .no, it says “YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND PLENTY LEFT OVER. . .”
2 Corinthians 9:11 in the New Living Translation says:
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. . .”
Once again, the scripture says “YOU WILL be enriched in every way.”
The scripture doesn’t say ‘some ways’ . . .a ‘few ways’ . . .no, it says EVERY WAY.
Why do you and I have money? Is it to buy stuff? Is it to keep up with the Joneses? Is it to invest for our retirement? Why does God give us “the power to get wealth?”
When your attitude is toward the things of God, the other needs you have will be taken care of.
8. God is the ultimate giver. He will be sure we receive in response to how we provide those good things for others.
1Timothy 6:18 in the New Living Translation says:
“Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”
9. What makes a person a devout believer? The answer is found in Acts 10:2which in the New Living Translation says:
“He was a devout, God-fearing man, as was everyone in his household. He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God.”
10. Your generosity always provides immediate benefits with a guaranteed return.
Generosity not only gives you a guaranteed future. . .it provides immediate returns on your investments.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 in the Message Bible says:
“Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns.”
11. When you’re generous God will make available to you the only bank that will never default or be taken over by the government.
Luke 12:33 in the Message Bible says:
“Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
12. Your generosity also has a long-term value greater than any 401K plan or investment.
2 Corinthians 9:9 in the New Living Translation says:
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
If you want your deeds remembered in heaven. . .then you must be a generous giver.
The scriptures are very clear. . .you and I are to bless other people with monetary gifts. It’s clear we can’t bless anybody if we’re broke and up to our eyeballs in debt.
Let me go one step further. . .way too many believers are restricting their ability to give by holding onto to what they have by the things they write and say.
Two days ago, nearly one-third of the people who wrote our ministry said “I don’t have anything to give.”
First, to make such a statement is a self-limiting prophecy. Your words will either empower or enslave you. I write numerous other blogs on this subject so I won’t preach that sermon now . . . although it is tempting.
Simply said, there is life and death, blessing and cursing in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21; James 3:10).
Even if you “think” you don’t have anything, don’t write it or speak it. We all have something if we are alive and conscious. Speaking or writing negatives only makes that stronghold harder to break in your own mind . . . and your toughest battle is your mind.
Second, I’ve never seen anybody who didn’t have something to give. . .even in third world countries. . .a generous person will find ‘something’ to give.
The decision to be generous with what you have. . .comes down to a matter of choice.
You choose to give. . .or you choose to spend money on something else.
I’ve had people tell me they had nothing to give. . .but they were paying over $70 a month for cable television.
Which do you think will bring greater financial relief into a person’s life. . .spending money so they can watch “Desperate Housewives” or sowing seed into the kingdom of God?
Which guarantees money coming into your life. . .watching game shows hoping win big if you’re fortunate enough to ever get on the show . .or sowing money into the things of God?
One person even said to me. . . “Yes, but Brother Harold, I’ve got to have cable so I can get Christian TV. . .how will I get fed if I don’t watch Kenneth, Creflo, Jesse, Joyce and Juanita?”
I have a revelation for many. . .first, if they spend more time in the Word, then God will speak to them just as quickly as He does Kenneth, Creflo, Jesse, Joyce and Juanita.
And if a person sows. . . he is guaranteed to have all his needs met and have more than enough left over to share with others.
That’s a guarantee that neither Comcast or Charter Cable or Time Warner or any satellite TV or cable company could ever give you. But God does. . .
So even if you’re going through tough times at the moment. . .take courage in the words found in Romans 5:3 in the Message Bible which says:
“There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
You must get away from limited thinking. . .the mental thought process that says you have nothing. Ask God to show you what you have to give and He will.
And by the way, I’m not practicing on you. . . just telling you things that I’ve heard others talk about. I’m sharing with you things I know to be true. . .things that my fine wife, Bev, and I have personally practiced and experienced.
And by the way, be happy in your generous giving.
2 Corinthians 9:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving].”
The best way to end this teaching. . .is found in the Message Bible translation of the scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7:
“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.”
When you give what you have in order to put the needs of others above your own. . .you are blessed with even more.
2 Corinthians 8:1in the Message Bible says:
“Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.”
When you give even in troubled times. . .when you do the right thing and bless others, you will even get a bonus.
Ruth 2:11in the Message Bible says:
“Boaz answered her, "I've heard all about you—heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. God reward you well for what you've done—and with a generous bonus besides from God, to whom you've come seeking protection under his wings."
As the scripture says, “I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it (the things I’ve written) over and make up your own mind what to give.”
St. Francis of Assisi said:
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
Think about it!!BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS