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.’