We are continuing to mine for golden nuggets of spiritual truth in the Book of Proverbs. I encourage you to study and meditate on today’s Scripture reading, but time and space allow only a summary of three verses in Proverbs 11, and one verse in Proverbs 12.
“You Poor, Stingy Old Soul” (Proverbs 11:24-26)
Proverbs 11:24-26 challenges us with a familiar spiritual principle, “Sowing and Reaping” (Galatians 6:7). To state that principle in a common analogy: We not only reap what we sow, we also reap in proportion to how much we sow!
Proverbs 11:24 – “There is that scattereth [disperses], and yet increaseth [adds to; surpasses]; and there is that withholdeth [keeps back; refrain; reserves for oneself] more than is meet [right; upright; due], but it tendeth to poverty [want; need].”
Consider an illustration of that proverb. In springtime, a farmer has some very important decisions to make. He must decide the crops he will plant in light of the harvest he plans to reap. He also must consider how much he hopes to gather and store up for winter. In other words, he must determine the amount of seed to plant in order to reach his harvest goal.
By contrast, a foolish farmer might hoard seed, and fail to value the potential of life and multiplication represented in one seed (insects and mold are always a threat to seeds stored in bins). For a farmer to withhold, and reserve seed which has the potential of life does indeed tend to poverty!
What is the application for believers? A believer who hoards his talents and gifts, and fails to be a steward of God’s grace and blessings, is like a farmer who hoards seed.
Two arenas come to mind: Financial stewardship, and the stewardship of ministry, talents and opportunities. There are believers who hoard wealth, and are blind to their responsibility to invest in God’s work and ministry. Some leave a great inheritance to their children, but enter heaven as little more than spiritual paupers. What a tragedy: To have the means to be a blessing, but elect to withhold from the Lord, His church and servants “more than is meet” (11:24)!
Solomon continued his lesson on stewardship by stating a proverb that is full of promise (11:25).
Proverbs 11:25 – “The liberal [blessed; prosperous] soul [life; person; heart] shall be made fat [satisfied; prosperous]: and he that watereth [satisfy; fill; quench the thirst of another] shall be watered [rain; flow as water; moisten] also himself.”
Joy and satisfaction come to the man who is generous with what God has entrusted to him. Remember: God’s people are merely conduits of His blessings, and when we give the overflow of our lives to the LORD (our time, talents, and gifts), He promises we will never want.
Proverbs 11:26 – He that withholdeth [keep back; deny] corn [grain; i.e., wheat], the people [nation; community] shall curse [blaspheme; pierce] him: but blessing [prosperity] shall be upon the head [chief; top; ruler] of him that selleth [buy and sell grain] it.”
I have often wondered why men and women of wealth wait until their deaths to be a blessing to others. Why withhold a blessing when it is in your ability to give? Why hoard more than you need, when you have it in your power to be a blessing? Why watch your church and other ministries struggle, when you have been blessed with the means to be a source of joy and satisfaction?
Warning: A stingy soul will be cursed!
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith
Womanhood Extols the Best, and the Worst of Human Character (Proverbs 12:4)
Proverbs 12:4 – “A virtuous woman [morally pure; good] is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones [like a cancer to the bones].”
The Scriptures address various kinds of women throughout its pages. From Eve, the mother of humanity who entertained the beauty of forbidden fruit (Genesis 3), to the Virgin Mary who, though of humble means, was chosen as the mother of Jesus, God’s Only begotten Son (Luke 1:26-38).
Womanhood extols the best and the worst of human kind.
Our culture tends to idolize women who personify infamous qualities that a half-century ago would have been scandalous. Sadly, women who epitomize the best character qualities are seldom noted or praised, by family or peers.
A virtuous woman is one of godly character. She is morally upright, faithful to her husband, and worthy of the praise of her family and friends (Proverbs 31). She brings out the best in her husband (Proverbs 31:11, 23), and is a joy and delight to her children (Proverbs 31:28).
Closing thoughts – Have you set your heart to love the Lord, and aspire to the highest virtues? What is your reputation at school, work, in your neighborhood, and church?
Proverbs 12:4 is a lesson every man should note, and every woman should heed.
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith