One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Written by: Ian Rock
From a young age, we’ve heard “it’s better to give than receive.” For some of us, we first heard that after serving somebody for the first time and realizing how great it made us feel. Some of us might have learned that passively as a child, as our Christmas list was growing longer than our family’s resources. It’s a concept we’re all familiar with, and one that many of us have seen play out in our own lives.
Though it’s a virtue that’s taught by parents and grandparents to their kids, it’s actually a Biblical principle. Acts 20:35 tells us that the phrase comes from Jesus himself. Jesus, even though He was fully God, came to Earth and lived a life that was defined by the way He served and cared for those around him. He was a selfless leader, prioritizing the needs of those around Him over His own. This all culminated with His death on the cross when He served all of humanity in the most powerful way in history.
In our lives, many of us have experienced that feeling we get when we meet the needs of somebody else. Whether with time, or financial- or skill-based resources, there is a satisfaction and fullness that comes from refreshing others. The reason we feel that fullness is that we’re never more like Jesus than when we give and serve. You’re never more in step with God’s purpose for your life than when you make it about others.
This passage in Proverbs reminds us that, when we make our lives about serving those around us, God is faithful to meet our needs. Remember, everything we own is on loan. The gifts, talents, and treasures God has given us won’t follow us after our number is called. If we hoard it all for the sake of comfort and satisfaction, what have we gained if it’s not actually ours in the first place? When we refresh others by meeting their needs, we’ll be refreshed in return.
Thought of the day: Have you ever had a time that you’ve been refreshed by serving somebody else? What stands out to you about that memory? What are some small ways you can serve somebody you work with or see regularly?
Prayer: Jesus, help me to find purpose and satisfaction in the way I meet the needs of those around me. Thank You for modeling what it looks like to live a selfless life centered around others. Give me wisdom on who I can serve today with the gifts You’ve loaned me.