Today's Lectionary Text
Prov. 11:24-26Some give freely, yet grow all the richer;
others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.
A generous person will be enriched,
and one who gives water will get water.
The people curse those who hold back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.
When I read these verses, I remember a couple of childhood camping trips where the most convenient water source was a well with a hand pump. If that pump had sat unused for a while before our arrival, we would prime the pump. It always felt risky to take some of the water we did have and pour it into a hole in the ground in the hope of receiving more water.
When everything was working, we would give up a bit of water we had, but then we'd have water for our entire stay. It is counterintuitive for us as humans to be willing to give away what is ours, particularly something that's as necessary as water. But the writer in Proverbs reminds us there are times we have to give away what is ours to receive something greater in return.
The verses speak to being generous to the poor, and the last of these three verses reminds us of Joseph's story, but I believe it's a lesson that can extend beyond tangible things in our lives.
Whether it is our time, our money, or even our love and joy, if we try to hold onto it — store it up for ourselves — we may find out we have lost, not gained. But if we are generous in helping those in need, if we take the time and energy to love those close to us, if we share God's love with God's creation, we will find ourselves receiving more in return than what we gave away.
Like priming the well, there are times it will feel risky. It won’t feel like a wise decision. And if the well pump was broken, we could pour water in it all day and never pump a drop from the ground. Sometimes in life, our generosity won't be rewarded.
But we are called to be generous because we know God’s love is infinite. There isn’t less for us if we give it away.
--Pastor Michael Turner
Topeka Grace/Big Springs
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, you are the giver of all good gifts. Please help us remember when we want to cling tightly to what is ours; you call us to generosity. We know we must give to receive, we must love to be loved. And we thank you for the gift of your son through whom we receive the gift of eternal life with you. Amen.
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