One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. ESV Proverbs 11:24
Spiritual formation often runs contrary to our way of thinking. Perhaps this draws our hearts to the Lord and forces us to think as He thinks instead of how we think. As expected, the Biblical way of getting rich differs from our traditional approach. Most of us know to get rich, you generally have to stay out of debt and invest wisely. We know the power of compound interest, the stock market, mutual funds, the rule of 72 and so forth. However, Solomon taught that to grow richer, we should focus on giving freely. Being that he was the richest man in the Bible, I figure he knew what He was talking about.
While giving freely contradicts basic investment principles, it taps into the heart of God’s grace. God’s gracious character calls Him to give generously to us…it’s the heart of the gospel that led Christ to the cross to purchase our salvation. Through the generous offer of the gospel, God gained the reconciliation of His creation. In the same way, God calls us to give generously and promises to provide for us in return. Interestingly enough, He also notes that if we withhold what we should give, we will only suffer want in the end.
As such, may I encourage you to expand your generosity in your search for wealth. My wife and I began our marriage giving away 10% of our gross income, and have worked to raise that 1% each year. While we haven’t always been able to maintain that pace, I’m shocked that while not rich, we have more than most at our stage of life…all while investing over 20% of our gross income in the kingdom. This year we are stretching again and investing several thousand in an adoption process…something that will involve giving of our time, hearts, emotions and more. I share these things not to brag, but to encourage you that God truly blesses generosity. If you want to be rich, make sure some of your first steps involve generously giving financially and otherwise (time, effort, resources) to others. You will grow all the richer. Be warned! If you withhold what you can give (it’s all God’s anyways) you will suffer want. Live generously!