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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”—Proverbs 11:24–25 (NKJV)
On the shores of a sea against a hillside crowded with hungry people, Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13 NKJV, emphasis added). With the scant supply of just five loaves and two fish, imagine their dismay. The crowd waited eagerly, and the impossible stood before them.
Given the circumstances, I imagine they may have been aggravated, confused, or possibly both. The idea of providing for what scholars estimate about ten thousand people (including women and children) was certainly out of the range of reasonable. Then again, God invites us to reason with Him (Isaiah 1:18), and when we work together with Him in this reasoning, the possibilities are endless.
His disciples probably did not have the above verse on their mind at the time, but we can apply that principal in our obedience to give generously when we realize one thing: God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).
When we have a heart and mind for Jesus, as the disciples did, we willingly share what we are led to give, trusting that God will not only meet the need, but go above the need. In His earthly ministry, Jesus shows us His heart for people—for the sick, for the hungry, for the lost. And in all those instances, He willingly gave. Ultimately, we see His heart for sinners when He gave His life on the cross. And in those acts of selfless giving, God multiplied.
Call it giving or generosity, it all comes down to this: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6 NKJV). This is not just a natural law, as in scattering seed, but a spiritual law as well.
It doesn’t matter what resource you have—time, money, prayer, food—giving in the name of Jesus and for His sake provides Jesus an opportunity to bless the giver and the receiver. Remember what He did with the loaves of bread and fish: He blessed them and then multiplied them. The immediate need was met; furthermore, the apostles received a valuable lesson they carried with them far beyond the shores of the sea, giving rise to the church of Christ—God’s greatest increase.
Dig: Read Luke 6:37–38. In its context, consider the principal of giving.
Discover: Now, consider what principals of withholding you might be experiencing (e.g. forgiveness, patience, compassion, time, money).
Display: With a fuller understanding of how God can take your withholding and multiply it, what type of investment are you willing to make?
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.