A generous soul will prosper, and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
I. THRIFTY SPENDING. All wise outlay of money is a form of thrift, The increase of capital depends upon the observance of certain laws and rules of prudence; and the prudence which enables to amass enables also to spend. Spending in works of benevolence is seldom known to impoverish a man, for it is seldom disjoined from calculation and economy in personal habits. But whether we can trace out the manner of the connection in every instance or not, it is real and profound. Wise distribution is the condition of steady increase. In the highest point of view benevolence is a "lending to the Lord."
II. UNTHRIFTY SAVING. stinginess tends to poverty, because it stints the energies. It springs from a false view of the value of money, or an exaggerated view. The true source of happiness, as of wealth, lies at last in the will, its energy, its industry. He who has so little faith in this as to put all his reliance on the mere means of living, may well become poor outwardly, as he certainly is inwardly.
III. THE SATISFACTION OF DOING GOOD. Here, again, we must look to the reflex effect of actions, The indirect results are the wider and the more important. From every free forth-going of the heart in acts of love and kindness there is a certain return into the heart. It is not sufficiently considered that whatever gives expansion to the mind - large views, broad sympathies - is so much gain in actual power. And again, that we cannot directly do much towards the removal of our own troubles, but obliquely may quell or diminish them by aiming at removing the troubles of others. Fulness of interests in the heart will not give room for grief to gnaw.
IV. SELFISHNESS AND GENEROSITY IN COMMERCE. (Ver. 26.) In time of dearth the avaricious proprietor, keeping back his corn to secure a higher price, brings down upon himself curses; while he who thinks of humanity more than of personal profit earns the blessings of the poor. The maxim that "business is business" is true, but may be pushed too far. If a trader profits by a war or scarcity, that is an accident; but it is not an accident, it is a crime, if he votes for war or interferes with the natural action of the market with a view to personal gain. If the same conditions of trade make the man rich which impoverish the many, he will feel it to be his duty to give the more out of his abundance. - J.
"If we give so much we shall exhaust our resources," is a common remark. Don't be afraid of that, my friend. See that little fountain yonder — away yonder in the distant mountain, shining like a thread of silver through the thick copse, and sparkling like a diamond in its healthful activity. It is hurrying on with tinkling feet to bear its tribute to the river. See, it passes a stagnant pool, and the pool hails it. "Whither away, master streamlet?" "I am going to the river to bear this cup of water God has given me." "Ah! you are very foolish for that; you'll need it before the summer is over. It has been a backward spring, and we shall have a hot summer to pay for it — you will dry up then." "Well," says the streamlet, "if I am to die so soon, I had better work while the day lasts. If I am likely to lose this treasure from the heat, I had better do good with it while I have it." So on it went, blessing and rejoicing in its course. The pool smiled complacently at its own superior foresight, and husbanded all its resources, letting not a drop steal away. Soon the midsummer heat came down, and it fell upon the little stream. But the trees crowded to its brink, and threw out their sheltering branches over it in the day of adversity, for it brought refreshment and life to them; and the sun peeped through the branches, and smiled complacently upon its dimpled face, and seemed to say, "It is not in my heart to harm you"; and the birds sipped its silver tide, and sang its praises; the flowers breathed their perfume upon its bosom; the beasts of the field loved to linger by its banks; the husbandman's eye sparkled with joy as he looked upon the line of verdant beauty that marked its course through his fields and meadows — and so on it went, blessing and blessed of all. God saw that the little stream never exhausted itself. It emptied its full cup into the river, and the river bore it on to the sea, and the sea welcomed it, and the sun smiled upon the sea, and the sea sent up its incense to greet the sun, and the clouds caught, in their capacious bosoms, the incense from the sea, and the winds, like waiting steeds, caught the chariots of the clouds and bore them away — away to the very mountain that gave the little fountain birth; and there they tipped the brimming cup, and poured the grateful baptism down. And so God saw to it, that the little fountain, though it gave so fully and so freely, never ran dry. And where was the prudent pool? Alas! in its inglorious inactivity it grew sickly and pestilential. The beasts of the field put their lips to it, but turned away without drinking. The breeze stooped and kissed it by mistake, but caught the malaria in the contact, and carried the ague through the region.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
The general principle is, that in living for the good of others, we shall be profited also ourselves. This teaching is sustained by the analogy of nature, for in nature there is a law that no one thing can be independent of the rest of creation, but there is a mutual action and reaction of all upon all. God has so constituted this universe, that selfishness is the greatest possible offence against His law, and living for others, and ministering to others, is the strictest obedience to His will. Our surest road to our own happiness is to seek the good of our fellows. We store up in God's own bank what we generously expend on the behalf of our race. To get we must give; to accumulate we must scatter; to make ourselves happy, to get good and become spiritually vigorous, we must do good, and seek the spiritual good of others.
I. APPLY THIS PRINCIPLE, IN ITS NARROW SENSE, AS BELONGING TO OURSELVES PERSONALLY. There are some works in which we cannot all engage. Peculiar men have special work; but watering is work for persons of all grades and all sorts.
1. All God's plants, more or less, want watering.
2. The Lord's people usually get this watering through instrumentality. The Holy Spirit waters us by the admonitions of parents, by the kind suggestions of friends, by the teaching of His ministers, by the example of all His saints.
3. Some plants need special watering, and should be the objects of unusual care — partly because of temperament or of ignorance, and partly because of circumstances, maybe of trial, maybe of soul-withering.
4. All believers have some power to water others. In so watering others we shall be watered ourselves. This is the main point.
(1)You will waken up your own powers.
(2)You will yourself gain instruction.
(3)You will get comfort in your work.
(4)Watering others will make you humble.
(5)You will win many prayers.
(6)You will even get honour to yourselves, that will stimulate you to new exertions.
(7)While watering others you will be manifesting and showing your love to Christ, and that will make you more like Him.
II. THE PRINCIPLE, IN A WIDER SENSE, AS IT MAY REFER TO US AS A CHURCH. We, as a Church, have enjoyed singular prosperity; but we have endeavoured to water others. We have undertaken a good many enterprises for Christ, and we hope to undertake a great many more. We must keep our watering work up.
III. THE PRINCIPLE, IN THE WIDEST SENSE, AS IT MAY BE REFERRED TO THE ENTIRE BODY OF CHRIST. Our missionary operations are an infinite blessing to the Churches at home. Relinquishing them, giving them up, staying them, would bring such a curse that we had need to go down on our knees and pray, "God send the missionary work back again."
All the appearances of virtue and piety do not partake of their real nature. See the case of the Pharisees. None of our good works can be viewed with approbation by God unless they spring from a right principle, are guided by a right rule, and are directed to a right end. God looks at the motive in which they originate.
I. THE CHARACTER OF TRUE RELIGIOUS OR CHRISTIAN LIBERALITY.
1. Its principle. The spirit which is in man must be the seat of this virtue, or the liberal hand, so far as it respects God, is of no worth. There is much beneficence apart from religion. But it is the grateful heart God requires.
2. Its objects. First our kindred according to the flesh. Then the poor and distressed in society.
3. The modes in which this liberality should express itself. It should be honest in its administration. It should be proportionate in degree. It should be affectionate in its communication. It should be expansive in its embrace. It should be habitual in its exercise.
II. THE RECOMPENSE TO ENCOURAGE US TO ITS EXERCISE AND DISPLAY.
1. As respects the life that now is. Inward pleasure, pleasure in looking at the good effected; enlarged powers of usefulness.
2. As respects the life to come. Apply to those who give nothing to the cause of the poor. To those who give little. To those who are in the habit of giving much.
It must be admitted that the natural tendency of things in this present fallen world is by no means such as to secure a prosperous result to rectitude of conduct, and failure to that of a contrary character. We often witness the inversion of this order. It is necessary to consider the character of the dispensation under which the book was written. The Jews were ostensibly, as well as really, under the immediate government of God; a government sanctioned by temporal rewards and punishments. This gave to the government of God over them what we may term a visible character. There was an ostensible Moral Governor. The Jew, apart from all consideration of a future state, was entitled to look, even in this life, for a providential sanction to his conduct, when his ways were such as pleased the Lord. In God's dealings with that people He affords an emblem, a visible emblem, of His dealings with others. The great distinction between the Jewish and the Christian dispensations is, that the one was addressed to sense, the other to faith; the one deals with visible things, the other with spiritual. It is but consistent with this distinction, that while God's providential government over His people is not less real under the Christian dispensation, it should be less manifest. Those things which would be perplexing to us if we attempt to judge the ways of God by sense, become reconcilable with His character and with His promises when regarded in the judgment of faith. Objection might be raised on the ground that the assertion of the text is contradicted by absolute matter of fact. The words, translated out of their figurative language, obviously assert, that he who liberally dispenses to others of those bounties, whether in grace or in providence, which God has conferred upon him, shall be himself more abundantly enriched. To the eye of sense this assertion is far from being universally verified among us as a matter of fact. In a worldly point of view it is not always the most virtuous who are the most prosperous, nor the most liberal who are the most successful. But faith will see every promise to us fulfilled in a higher and better sense. The highest exemplification of this passage is found in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. He spent His life in blessing; therefore it was He was so greatly blessed. The recompense of the reward is a motive sanctioned by the highest example, that of Christ Himself. Some think it savours too much of legality, to hold out a future recompense as a stimulus to the active employment of all our talents in the service of God. Yet surely this is to confound things that are perfectly distinct in themselves. It is not inconsistent with the doctrines of grace to propose a proportionable increase of future joy as a motive to present sacrifice, and to hold it up before Christians as a matter of certainty, that every sacrifice which they make for the Lord's sake shall be repaid from the hand of the Lord. The liberal distribution of our worldly substance is attended with a blessing from the Lord, at least to the man himself. But the text is the exposition of an established law in the universal government of God's providence. Our progress depends on our readiness to communicate of the stores already conferred upon us. The Christian's rule of spiritual advancement is not so much in proportion to the acquisitions which he makes of knowledge, as to the use that he makes of it. As we feed others our own souls are fed by God. It is in the nature of things, or rather, I should say, it is in the appointment of God, that it should be so.
()If I desire to flourish in soul, I must not hoard up my stores, but must distribute to the poor. To be close and stingy is the world's way to prosperity, but not God's (see ver. 24). Faith's way of gaining is giving. I must try this again and again; and I may expect that as much of prosperity as will be good for me will come to me as a gracious reward for a liberal course of action. Of course, I may not be sure of growing rich. I shall be fat, but not too fat. Too great riches might make me as unwieldy as corpulent persons usually are, and cause me the dyspepsia of worldliness, and perhaps bring on a fatty degeneration of the heart. No, if I am fat enough to be healthy, I may well be satisfied; and if the Lord grants me a competence, I may be thoroughly content. But there is a mental and spiritual fatness which I would greatly covet; and these come as the result of generous thoughts towards my God, His Church, and my fellow-men. Let me not stint, lest I starve my heart. Let me be bountiful and liberal; for so shall I be like my Lord. He gave Himself for me: shall I grudge Him anything?
()If I carefully consider others, God will consider me; and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the Lord will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord's own promise; be it mine to fulfil the condition, and then to expect its fulfilment. I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish, and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall I do? I will pull up the plug, and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around me. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock flows out to water others, the Lord thinketh upon me. Hallelujah!
LinksProverbs 11:25 NIV
Proverbs 11:25 NLT
Proverbs 11:25 ESV
Proverbs 11:25 NASB
Proverbs 11:25 KJV
Proverbs 11:25 Bible Apps
Proverbs 11:25 Parallel
Proverbs 11:25 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 11:25 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 11:25 French Bible
Proverbs 11:25 German Bible
Proverbs 11:25 Commentaries