Monthly Archives: September 2012

Giving, Getting and God.

Proverbs 11:24-31.  Money and Reward

Possibly one of the first things spoken about money is about giving – no surprise.  If we give freely we will become wealthier.  And conversely being stingy will lead to loss, eventually.  This is counter-intuitive but it is the law of the seed.   A seed goes from you, it dies, before it bears the fruit inherent to it/in it.

And it is not just giving – because that can be calculating and in its own way quite stingy.  It is giving ‘freely.’  These words are echoed in Paul – 2 Corinthians 9:6-9.  “God loves a cheerful giver.”  ‘Freely’ has the sense of abandonment in it.  And it won’t impoverish the giver.  They will prosper and be the recipients of other’s generosity.

Prospering, according to scripture, is a way of living that has effectively separated money from its controlling and demanding dominion.  It is an attitude that has seeped into the soul of the giver.  Some people learn it from a young age, the rest of us have to learn it later – more difficult.

If the capacity to alleviate the suffering of others is within your reach it is a curse not to.  The context is the hoarding of grain in ‘time of need.’  To not sell it is seen as a reason others will curse you, and a curse that has reason isn’t easily brushed off.

Joseph sold accumulated grain in famine and averted tragedy and riot.  People go crazy when no food is available.  Some historians and sociologists (The Spectator Magazine/UK – August 2012) blame hunger for more of the backdrop to the Arab Spring (2011-2012) than the desire for mere political freedom, and they have traced this theme back and watched its re-occurrence in history.   Hardly surprising – hunger impels all sorts of behavior, normally disruptive, as the stomach often speaks louder than an ideal.

A trust in money, which some have, and they have accumulated their money without being generous, will lead to a fall/fallout.  You can be rich but you may not be described as either ‘godly’ or ‘flourishing’ – v28.

The godly, being wise and generous will win people and will be rewarded – v30-31.  The effect of giving goes beyond meeting the need of another. It rebounds in benefit on the giver.  Of course it is difficult to be a generous giver and have the notion of giving for the sake of, merely and selfishly, getting.

These things balance themselves out.  We have no need to try and dampen the issue of ‘reward and prosperity’ as though they were unfortunate but necessary goads to good behavior.  They are facts but they will hardly dominate the horizon of a person giving ‘freely.’

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Honestly!!

Proverbs 11:1-6.  Honestly!

Cheating to take advantage is not looked upon with approval.

Cheating robs another to enrich oneself.

Solomon is here referring to the making a set of weights and scales, which is an exacting task.  Equally to make a set that were in favor of the owner of them is itself an exacting, deliberate and disingenuous process.  Dishonesty is a deliberate and cynical act as it applied to manufacturing/recalibrating scales to give false readings.  No doubt a black market existed for such things, sadly.  Dishonesty isn’t a mere failure to do right, it is calculated and calculating.

He doesn’t suggest that becoming rich is the issue – what is the issue is how you get there.  Short cuts always set you back in the long run.  Cheating leads to distrust, and trust is a fundamental building block of healthy relationships.  Without we are left with little that connects.

But honesty goes further than merely or only doing the right thing.  Doing the right thing is right to do but it is not normally very captivating.  Honesty guides us, whereas dishonesty destroys others.  What we do will be moderated by honesty.  It is a filter for behavior.  Honesty may not always be natural or comfortable but it always has good results.

Not only that.  Honesty also directs us.  It guides in that it points us in the right direction, and it directs us on the path pointed to.  This assumes we need guidance and direction. And it assumes that honesty is a ‘walked out’ process of growth and understanding.

Solomon then goes on to say in v6, “the godliness of good people rescues them.”  Honesty is now described as godliness.  It infects our character – positively, and the lack of it, negatively.  Honest!


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