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The Reward of Being Generous
Proverbs 11:25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
25 The generous soul will be made fat,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
The generous soul will be made fat: We are told that those who are generous (בְּרָכָה berakah), diligent, and trust in God will be made fat, that is, prosper abundantly. (Prov. 11:25; 13:4; 28:25) Fat and fatness (דָּשֵׁן dashen / דֶּשֶׁן deshen / חֵלֶב cheleb / שֶׁמֶן shemen) were considered the choicest part at a meal or banquet. One sense can be rich food conceived of in terms of oil, gaining a great deal of weight resulting in a larger size, fat. Having body fat meant that a person was healthy. Conversely, they referred to a physically fit, healthy person as fat. David had experienced God’s love and care. He felt completely satisfied, like the rich food at the banquet. In life, he had received the best, the choicest part. Therefore, he would joyfully praise God Almighty continually from his lips.
and one who waters will himself be watered: The Hebrew verbs (רָוָה ravah) rendered waters, that is, to drink one’s fill, to be refreshed; and (יָרָה yarah or יָרָא yara) rendered watered, namely, to be provided with water. The one who waters is generously giving, raining profusely or drenching another with help, to the point that they are satisfied. Himself being watered in return is also being used figuratively and it means that he is being refreshed, revitalized from his tireless efforts of helping others.
Proverbs 11:24-25 are parallel and speak of the blessings of generosity. If we have it within our means to help a fellow servant of God or a needy neighbor, or we encounter someone needing our help, we then have the opportunity to promote the quality of love. When we offer ourselves generously, it is not us coming to the aid of others; instead, we were supplied by God, for he only blesses those with such humility. We will be refreshed and revitalized with a greater degree of faith and an opportunity for accomplishment.
What is the outcome of our generously using our finances or abilities to help others? It gives us a real-life realization of the hope that we have had since our original choice to serve God. That is: “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 4:11b) When we water, that is, give generously because of our love and faith in God’s Word, Christ is glorified because it is only by means of his ransom sacrifice that we have a good standing before God, with the hope of salvation. The Father, in turn, is glorified, for it was him who sacrificed his Son for us.
However, it takes faith to accept the truth that this is so. The Bible links generosity with faith. (James 2:14-17) Maybe, we have the thought, ‘if I give out of my surplus to help another in need, I might not have the finances in my time of need, and what if there is no one there to help me?’ Such thinking is a lack of faith and could restrain us from being generous with our money, time, and energy. Therefore, we definitely need faith to believe that our generous giving to others will not injure our security sometime later. It takes genuine faith (confidence) to believe that, if ever we come to be in real need, the minds and hearts of fellow believers will be moved by God’s Word to come to our aid as well. We need to be the soul that blesses others or is generous toward others, i.e., gives spontaneously, unreservedly, and fully. Our kind actions refresh those we encounter and are, in reality, blessings from heaven upon those in need. We do not refresh others seeking to be reimbursed by God or knowing that God is our safety net, but rather because our mind of Christ moves us to do so.