Proverbs 11:23-28

The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.

Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; 
others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water. 
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.
 Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves.
 Proverbs 11:23-28

I don’t know how it is in your life but here is how things have worked out thus far for me. I always, always, always, have a list. The list is comprised of “what would I do with a bunch of money that suddenly grew on the limbs of the tree in my backyard?”

If that turned out to be lottery-sized money (which is quite unlikely to happen because I never purchase a ticket), I would pay off the mortgage on our church. Just so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.

But if it was normal-sized money, I would check the list of the stuff I want to buy or the places I want to take Kelley or things that would help our kids. (I just did it. I put my selfishness right out there on display. I got to be first on the list and the church didn’t show up on that one at all. This isn’t good and I’m not proud to say it.)

Here’s what else I know. No matter what shows up on my list of what I want to buy next, even if it is the sort of thing that comes with “if I only get this, I will never want another thing for the rest of my life”, once I get it, I check it off and the next thing moves right to the top of the list.

Honesty, I do consider myself a generous person. Frankly, most people do. Seldom have I sat with a family preparing a funeral without someone saying that the deceased would “give the shirt off his back to someone in need.” That ranks right up there with “he really loved to hunt and fish.” (Which is always more romantic than my list. He really loved to read and watch TV.)

My problem isn’t a lack of generosity. My problem is wishful, magical, thinking around money and possessions. I don’t care much about money so I am careless with my money. I know wanting another “thing” creates anxiety, getting another “thing” provides only momentary pleasure, and life isn’t about “things” in the first place.

Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; 
others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. T. Carlos Anderson calls it “Black Friday Eve.” It is a crazy season for all of us, all the more crazy the farther our focus drifts from giving to getting, from gratitude to great deals, from holy days to holidays.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, giving Lord, gifting Lord, open our eyes as we open our wallets. Help us see the realities of our lives, what matters and what doesn’t. Give us wisdom, discernment, discretion, and compassion as we move into this next season of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


One Response to “Proverbs 11:23-28”

  1. Brent Says:

    Great devotional especially for this season. I heard in AA once a guys sponsor told a story about he and a friend, older guys, who used to meet for coffee every week and then buy lottery tickets until the sponsors friend, out of the blue, quit buying them. When asked why he said he realized the only reason he was buying them was so he could have all that money and stop trusting God. Interesting.

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