June 9th 2018 – Proverbs 11:24-28

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    and one who waters will himself be watered.
The people curse him who holds back grain,
    but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favour,
    but evil comes to him who searches for it.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
    but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

Proverbs 11:24-28

The writer now turns to a consideration of the generous spirit, and touches on one of the most basic and profound paradoxes of Christian experience in 24, echoing Jesus' own words, 'He that loseth his life for My sake, the same shall find it' (cf also 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 for a further statement of the principle). It is a simple fact of experience in Christian life that no man is ever the loser for having given generously in the work and service of God. God is no man's debtor, and He has promised 'Them that honour Me I will honour' (1 Samuel 2:30). It is the man who withholds what he should be giving (24b, RSV) that suffers impoverishment. Liberality (25) is what we were made for, and we become our real and true selves when we are generous and open-hearted. We are already rich, when we have a liberal spirit, apart from any reward God may bestow upon us. The thought in 26 is of deliberate and calculated withholding of grain in order to force up its price, and so make unscrupulous profit from the sufferings of men. If this justifiably brings upon such the cursings of men, what shall be said of those who withhold the bread of life from a needy world dying for want of it? The thought in 27 is that of the backlash of evil. The mischief-maker, who rejoices in mischief and desires the undoing of his neighbour, will himself be undone. Evil is always self-destructive, and has the principle of retribution built into its very nature. The true riches (28) are always moral, not material. It is the righteous, not the affluent, who is truly wealthy. To bank on material riches for anything is to build on a very precarious foundation.