Morning Musings: Proverbs 19:17

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”  (ESV)

Have you ever wasted money and you knew it?  That’s a frustrating feeling.  Maybe it isn’t at the time (or else you probably wouldn’t have done it!), but eventually that little nagging sense of regret develops and you have to decide you’ll ignore it or else find a way to make amends.  

I enjoy playing video games.  I’ve spent a lot of money on them over the years.  I don’t know that I would even want to attempt to guess how much if I could.  It’s a lot.  It’s a lot of money that I will never get back.  It can’t be used for anything else.  Now, yes, I could try and justify that some of it went to shared experiences that fostered relationships and that’s not a bad thing.  But I don’t know that I can say anything resembling a majority of it fits in that category.  Imagine how much I could have done with it if I had saved it for something more meaningful and significant instead…

Do you know what money I’ve parted with that I don’t regret?  Money that’s been used to help someone else.  Over the years I have had the opportunity at various times to use money for the benefit of someone else.  I’ll never be able to use that money again for anything else either.  But I don’t regret it.  I don’t miss it.  I’ve never wondered what else I could have done with it.  I’ve never missed out on anything else because of it.  And, where it was a blessing to someone else, that is something I got back.

When we give to help other people, we are using our resources in a manner consistent with how God would have them used.  And, since everything belongs to God anyway (see Psalm 50), using our resources in the way He would have them used is always the right thing to do.

As Solomon points out here, when we give to help others, and in particular the poor, it’s like we are loaning the money to God.  Well, God always repays His loans.  With interest.  It may not be with money, but He will always make sure our needs never go unmet when we are using what He has given us in the first place to help the people around us see their own needs met.

There are lots of things we can do for ourselves with our money that will not ultimately be for the benefit of anyone including ourselves.  We will ultimately regret most of those expenses.  But, money given for the benefit of someone else we will neither miss nor regret.  It is money given as if to the Lord and He will always give back more than we gave out.  It may not come back around in the same form it went out, but His resources are endless, varied, and always perfectly suited for the need they are sent to address.

2 thoughts on “Morning Musings: Proverbs 19:17

  1. Ronald E. Keener

    When I was a teen (some years ago) I went on a trip to a Christian youth conference in North Carolina (Lake Junaluska, as I recall) and at some point on that a trip I saw a miniature camera for I don’t know how much. Not much, in those days. But by the time I got home, I regretted the purchase. For no particular reason, just angry at myself for having put out the money for a camera that I didn’t need and wouldn’t use. Hated the action on my part so much that I took it to a camera shop in my hometown and gave it to them, asking them to put it in their display case and attempt to sell it to someone else. without asking for the money they might sell it for. It felt better to me to have them pass it on to someone than having it in my possession for any length of time. Strange way to look at it, but I just felt I was doing something more useful than keeping it in my possession. In another case I am aware of I know of someone who bought an expensive sports car, using money they had gotten in an inheritance to close the deal, and only a few weeks later had buyer’s remorse. They took the car back to the dealership and said they didn’t want the car and just wanted to get rid of it. Of course, they didn’t get their money back, and the dealer sold the car a second time to another buyer. The party lost that money they put down on the car–in the thousands of dollars. But they somehow felt better never having to see that sports car in their garage again. Foolishness, for sure. An impulse purchase is seldom good, and if we can make it better in some way, maybe God will still bless us–and someone else.

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    • pastorjwaits

      Perhaps a good approach is that when we feel the impulse to purchase something, we wait by default. Then pray on it more and look for a way to use that money for a mission instead. Or, intentionally save the impulse money to put toward an existing debt or in the bank for a future, larger purchase. The trick is to constantly keep in mind God’s preference for His stuff. We can enjoy it, yes, but it will always be enjoyed best when used for the benefit of others.

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