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Spiritual Gain and Poverty

One person gives freely yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. Proverbs 11:24

Though she has been gone three years now, I remember visiting with Bennie, who passed at age 100. She was born in 1920, nine years before The Great Depression (1929-1933). What started with the Black Tuesday stock market crash in October of that year, driving some people to jump from the Wall Street windows in despair, others were forced to travel from place to place, hopping on and off rail cars, to chase employment opportunities. Bennie told me how her mother, though the family had precious little to give, would always make up a plate of food for those migrant men coming to the back door of their home.

In the context of today’s verse, during the Great Depression, we saw some individuals, like Bennie’s mother, who gave freely, even during difficult times. When faced with the same adversity, others reacted rashly, not seeing how they could live without their riches. Yet others withheld what they should have given, perhaps out of fear or uncertainty.

Centuries after this Proverb was written, Jesus demonstrated what it meant to give freely. Though God-himself, rich in ways we can not fathom, became poor for our sake. His sacrificial love exemplifies the essence of giving. He emphasized giving, teaching, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4). Notice Jesus says “when,” not “if” you give.

Today, as inflation soars, more jobs are replaced by artificial intelligence, the number of folks without homes and facing food insecurity grows daily, and people struggle to get by. We are faced with the reality and timelessness of the message in Proverbs and Christ’s teachings. There is a direct correlation between our actions in this physical world and our spiritual blessings. We have two options: throw up our hands in despair, save for a tomorrow that is not guaranteed, hoard what we have at the risk of becoming spiritually impoverished, or follow Christ’s example, like Bennie’s mother, to give freely and become blessed in our giving.

Heavenly Father,

We come before You with open hearts, seeking wisdom and grace. As we reflect on Your Word, we find guidance for our giving:

Proverbs 11:24 reminds us that generosity leads to abundance. May our hearts overflow with compassion, knowing that when we give freely, You bless us beyond measure.

Matthew 6:2-4 teaches us the beauty of secret giving. Lord, help us release our gifts quietly, without seeking recognition. May our left hand not know what our right-hand does as we give in love.

Father, we pray:

For the Needy: Bless those in need, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. May our gifts alleviate suffering and bring hope.

For Humble Hearts: Guard us against pride and self-righteousness. May our motives be pure, rooted in love for You and our fellow humans.

For Eternal Rewards: We surrender our desire for earthly acclaim and seek Your approval, knowing You see our hidden acts of kindness.

For Generosity: Open our hands and hearts. May we freely give, even when it costs us, trusting that You provide abundantly.

For Your Glory: May our giving reflect Your character. Let it be an act of worship, honoring Your name.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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