“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Refreshed. Modern dictionaries define it as being restored to strength or having a renewed supply. What comes to your mind when you think of being refreshed?
- A drink of cold water in the middle of a long hike.
- A relaxing vacation after a stressful period of work.
- An unexpected check in the mail when money is tight.
Refreshed. It’s when you finally have something you’ve really needed. When you are refreshed, the world looks better and you feel better about your place in it.
God wants us to be refreshed. The Bible also refers to it as shalom, the state of wholeness and joy God designed for us to experience. The Hebrew word “refreshed” in Proverbs 11:25 is used in other parts of the Old Testament. Men are instructed to be refreshed by the love of their wives (Prov. 5:19). Wholeness and delight can’t be found in the modern hookup culture. Rather, shalom is found in enjoying your spouse and giving yourself to them.
God makes it clear where we can find refreshment in Proverbs 11:25. It isn’t always where we might instinctively look. God says refreshment is found in refreshing others. Refreshing others is part of God’s pathway to shalom, wholeness according to His design.
Think of it another way: God’s design is for us to grow through the giving of resources (skills, gifts, time, possessions, etc.) He’s entrusted to us. We tend to think we diminish our resources when we give them away. The Bible says faithful giving does not result in us being diminished. Rather, we will be refreshed.
If we hand our cup of water to the thirsty, God promises we will not go waterless (Matt. 6:31-33). He will satisfy our thirst. As we refresh others, we will be refreshed. Generosity runs counter to our instincts. We want to hold on to our cup of water, fearful it is the only way we can be refreshed.
Generosity is also in our own best interest. The pathway to being refreshed is to refresh others. Other parts of the Bible reinforce this:
- Ecclesiastes 11:1: Cast your bread upon the waters for you will find it after many days.
- Luke 6:38: Give, and it will be given to you.
- 2 Corinthians 9:6: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Every instinct pleads for us to hold on to our money or spend it on personal pleasure. However, generosity is an unselfish act from which we stand to personally benefit: God promises we will be refreshed, whether in this age or the age to come. We will be refreshed as we refresh others. We gain as we intentionally give.
Giving is key to experiencing shalom. Being refreshed is found in imitating God and the giving nature of the Father, Son, and Spirit.
R.G. LeTourneau’s life is an example of how God refreshes us as we give. At one point in his life, the Texas businessman was giving 90 percent of his income to the Lord. He once quipped, “I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back—but God has a bigger shovel.” He was refreshed as he refreshed others.
The generous life is the refreshed life. God is generous. God continuously gives yet He is never lacking. He is supremely generous and supremely blessed. May we take Him at His word and discover the refreshing power of generosity.
- We refresh others using gifts, skills, and resources God has entrusted to us. In what ways are you using your gifts, skills, and resources to refresh others?
- Think about the last time you exercised generosity. Have you been able to see any ways God refreshed you or others through it?
Father, we love because we have been loved. We give because much has been given to us. Thank You for Your generous gifts in my life and the life of the world. Open my eyes today to see the world as teeming with Your abundance. Forgive me when I have been more captured by greed than motivated by generosity. Open my hands, believing Your promise to fill them again.