Proverbs 11:24-26

Proverbs 11:24-26 "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it."
Proverbs 11:24-26 Buffalo NY Church
God doesn’t always use experienced men and women to impart wisdom.  There are places in Scripture where God used men to instruct us on a particular subject in which they had no experience or success.  Paul immediately comes to mind as the most obvious example of this.  God used him to impart the greatest Scriptural wisdom on marriage and yet, he wasn’t even married.  God also used Paul to address parenting and yet, he had no children.  In those Biblical cases, we are to remember that God-inspired wisdom is truth regardless of how inexperienced the conduit of that truth may be.  That all being said, there are plenty of cases where God blesses a man with experience and success in a particular subject so that they can share the wisdom God has taught them through that experience.  This kind of wisdom comes with the addition of an author’s background for the reader to consider and appreciate.  This kind of wisdom is what is shared in our next three proverbs.

Proverbs 11:24-26 all deal with MONEY and their author had no shortage of experience or success with it.  1 Kings 10:23 tells us that “king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.”  He was the wealthiest man in his time with some estimating his net worth at $2 trillion by today’s standards.  Considering his financial success, it would make sense to consider what he had to say about financial matters.  These three proverbs offer Divine wisdom that were learned by inspiration and then proven true by experience by their author.
 
1. FINANCIAL SECURITY is found in Giving, not in Saving.

Any responsible person desires financial security.  We want to know that we’re going to have enough money to pay for our housing, transportation, food and clothing.  We want to know that we’re going to be able to have enough money to pay for medicine and health care in the event of illness or accident.  We want to know that we’re going to have enough money to pay for these things for the rest of our lives.  We don’t want to worry about being without a roof over our heads, food in our bodies or clothes on our backs.  This healthy and natural desire fuels any variety of financial savings plans.  Money in the bank or in the household safe or in a trust brings financial security, or so we think.
 
Verse 24, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”

A man worth an estimated $2 trillion believed the key to financial security is found in giving and specifically, NOT in saving “more than is meet.”  Saving money is both wise and biblical but saving more than is appropriate is both foolish and unbiblical.  Solomon learned that when we put our savings ahead of giving, we’re in danger of becoming impoverished.  He learned that when we give liberally while saving conveniently, we become financially secure.  It may sound financially backwards but it is spiritually sound and true.  When fear of the unknown drives our financial decisions, our love for others grows cold.  When fear of the unknown drives our financial decisions, our love for money grows hot.  1 Timothy 6:10 tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” which is why saving more than is appropriate tends towards poverty.  The person who is excessive about their savings will cut ethical corners, rob God and risk relationships with people that could help them in times of financial need.  The person who is reasonable about their savings in order to be liberal in their investment of others will see financial fruit applied to their account.  God loves and blesses cheerful givers who alone can give without being worried about their financial future (2 Cor. 9:7).

2. FINANCIAL PROSPERITY flows from Others, not from Ourselves.

Who doesn’t want enough money to enjoy life?  It’s one thing to have enough money to pay the mortgage; it’s another thing to have enough money to take someone out to dinner or to take your family on vacation.  While it shouldn’t be the top priority in our lives, there is nothing wrong with seeking God’s prosperity as evidenced in Jabez’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 4:10 when he prayed, “Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast.”  The danger in seeking God’s prosperity is when we pursue it with a financial plan that excludes others.  

Verse 25, “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

A man worth an estimated $2 trillion believed that financial prosperity was something that happens to us – not something that we obtain.  Giving souls don’t earn wealth; they receive wealth.  They don’t become fat by excessive savings; they are “made fat” by others.  Biblically-speaking, financial prosperity is not the result of strict budgets bent on serving self.  Financial prosperity is the result of a reasonable budget that has liberal giving built into it.  Solomon learned by Divine Inspiration and by experience that giving people are recipients of giving people.  Financially-fearful people are not givers and as a result, they are not receivers.  Greedy people are not givers and as a result, they are not receivers.  God views givers as INVESTORS into His moral market and He always pays them high dividends.  “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again” (Proverbs 19:17).
 
3. FINANCIAL INTEGRITY is formed by Consideration, not by Conservation.

These three proverbs clearly belong together as they all confront the hardest thing for human hands to do when holding onto money – letting go for the sake of others.  We don’t like to risk our financial security for others, especially when we feel like we’ve been responsible with our money and others haven’t.   We don’t like to forfeit our financial prosperity for others, especially when we feel like we’re giving up something we worked hard for.   It’s easy for financially-responsible people to see giving as irresponsible, especially when the future seems very uncertain.  It is possible to be both financially responsible and very considerate.
 
Verse 26, “He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.”  

A man worth an estimated $2 trillion believed financial integrity was more than just having enough money to cover any economic hardship.  Financial integrity is not obtained by mathematics alone.  To be financially sound, you need to be emotionally sensitive and spiritually mature.  To be financially sound, you need to be considerate of others.  Solomon didn’t give everything away but he also didn’t save everything for himself.  Just because someone doesn’t have a car doesn’t mean we have to give them a car but it can be financially unwise to refuse to sell an extra car at a very reasonable price to someone in need.  The greedy soul who saves “more than is meet tendeth to poverty” because people will “curse him” and refuse to “water” him when the bank account runs dry.  There is no integrity in putting PAPER before PEOPLE.  There is no integrity in putting PENNIES before PEOPLE.  There is no integrity in financial fear, greed or selfishness.
 
These proverbs teach us that financial success is impossible without the help of others.  The financial advisers of the world will suggest giving only when it helps reduce the amount of taxes you owe.  The wealthy financial adviser of Scripture suggests giving because there are spiritual rules and realities in place.  Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).  God blesses givers and people bless givers.  God takes from those who can’t share and He gives to those who can.  People will do the same.

Take it from a man worth an estimated $2 trillion – wealth without others is rare, temporary and most importantly, useless.  Build giving, lending and helping others into your budget and you’ll enjoy financial security, financial prosperity and financial integrity. 

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