“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Proverbs 11:24-25 (NIV)
In math, when something is subtracted from something else, what is left is always less than the original amount. So, it seems when a person gives away something he should have less than with what he began. When it comes to generosity, however, this math concept does not hold. Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us that when we give freely of our money, time or compassion, we gain more and we find refreshment, not poverty.
How can this be? Think about the times you have shared something with others. Maybe you contributed money to a cause, or provided a meal for a family in crisis, or just gave someone a hug and an encouraging word when she was down. Did you feel like you lost or gained something when you did these things? If you felt that you gained something, what were those rewards? A new friend, a happy heart, greater understanding of what it means to love unconditionally? A returned favor when someone did something generous for you? We do gain more when we are generous!
One aspect of generosity is hospitality. I recently read Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt, a book that inspires us to reach out to others by inviting them into our homes. Her stories and Scriptural reminders that we are called to be in community with others encourage us to learn the true meaning of hospitality and put it into practice.
In her book, Jen explains that excuses such as busyness, insecurity, and fear of rejection can be overcome, and that opening the physical door of our homes and the symbolic door of our hearts to others is both Biblical and rewarding. In addition to her personal stories, Jen also includes testimonies from others and practical ideas to help us navigate the realm of hospitality and learn how to confidently invite others into our homes.
I’ve always enjoyed having people over but more often than not I don’t ask people over enough because of my insecurity about cooking. After reading this book, though, and being reminded of the true meaning of hospitality, I am encouraged to open my door anyway.
Hospitality is serving others, and the following verses are encouraging reminders to do that:
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)
Romans 12:13 – “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (NIV)
Hebrews 13:16 – “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (NIV)
1 Peter 4:10 – “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (NIV)
Generosity is more than adding to someone’s life by subtracting a little from our own. It’s multiplied blessings for both the giver and the recipient!