5As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. 6In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
(Ecclesiastes 11:5-6 ESV)
Yesterday we learned that wise people give to others who are in need. But doing so is risky, as we could always use whatever money or resources we give away for ourselves. So we make up excuses not to give. Solomon addresses this in today’s passage.
God has given us our resources to steward. Certainly we need to use some of them on ourselves – God never commands us to live in poverty or self-neglect [Luke 12:29-30]. But He also commands us to share with others.
Previously in Ecclesiastes God admonished us to be prudent and careful in the way we live [Ecclesiastes 10:8-11]. Living that way is the wise way to live as there are many misleading enticements in life that can snare us into unfulfillment and render life meaningless.
But here, God changes tactics. When it comes to our money, the wise way to live is to be liberal.
Obviously, this involves risk. We may need the money ourselves in the future. Besides, how can we be sure that the person to whom we give really needs it or won’t squander it?
Valid questions. But they are not our concern. Just as we do not know how a person’s spirit is joined to their body (this happens in the womb) we do not know the work of God. We may not know how God will take care of us in the future, but He will.
So we should be generous with our resources as if we were sowing seed. We should spread it around wisely, but without excessive analysis.
When sowing seed we do not know which will prosper nor do we worry about it. Some seeds will germinate and some will not. We don’t know which. All we know is that something good will eventually come of out of the ground.
Likewise, when we share with others we may not know where our own future sustenance will come from. Nor may we know who will receive the benefit of money (e.g. if we give through a charity). But we can know – for sure – that God will make something good come from our generous giving. And that is all we need to be concerned about.
When we give liberally we are 1) demonstrating concern for other people and their well-being and 2) trusting God to take care of us in the future.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.