“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17 (ESV)
It’s easy to come up with reasons not to be generous. I have bills to pay, kids to feed, retirement to save for, an emergency fund to finish, and so on. But this little proverb wields a powerful argument against my natural inclination to be stingy (which I prefer to call “frugal,” of course). It gives a powerful encouragement to be generous even when I don’t want to be and contains at least three truths to consider:
First of all, there is an invitation: “Whoever is generous to the poor…” That isn’t just an invitation to “radical” Christians or those with the spiritual gift of giving; it is an invitation to all of us.
Second, there is an insight into what is really happening when I am generous to the poor: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord.” It’s as if I were lending money to God himself!
Third, there is an incentive to be generous: “he will repay him for his deed.” Perhaps you have lent money in the past and never seen it again. This doesn’t happen when you lend to the Lord. He will not forget: “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name….” (Hebrews 6:10, ESV). This proverb doesn’t tell us how or when the Lord will repay, and there’s no guarantee that the return will be monetary, but we know that when He does, it will have been well worth it, because no one is as generous as God (Luke 6:38).
Lord, may Your generosity to me overflow in generosity to others. Please direct me to someone in need who I can be generous towards during this coming week. Amen.
Keep your eyes open for someone in need this week. Give generously of your time, money, or energy (or maybe all three).
Are you going through financial hardship? One of our mentors would love to pray with you.