Many times, we don’t think a lot about being generous, liberal or otherwise. We are often thinking about how we can save enough money to buy the car, shoes or the best phone we have always believed we wanted. Lots of energy goes into making sure we have the latest and greatest. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting all the nice things, we’ve got to keep it in the proper perspective.
Zealously acquiring things can and will trap us in an endless cycle. You get something, but it doesn’t really satisfy you, so you try to obtain the next thing, and that does not really make you happy, so you reach for something new. If you are not very careful, your whole life can turn into that pursuit of “stuff.”
God wants His people to be like Him – and that requires that we take a serious look at what it means to be generous – to water and then be watered. The Lord Himself is extremely generous toward mankind. When one considers that we have sinned against Him, rebelled against His sovereignty and authority, you begin to grasp why any response other than judgment is marvelously generous.
Yet God has gone far above just showing us a little love and charity. There are many reasons why a truly generous person will prosper. There does seem to be a distinction between those who seem to generously share their happiness and relative prosperity with those around them, and those who seem to serve others and or themselves out of some sort of obligation and self-hatred. Therefore, we should honestly and generously consider our God’s generosity as being infinite.
Proverbs 11:24-26 New King James Version
24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
Proverbs 11:25 King James Version
25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
God says that the generous man will be prosperous. The literal Hebrew here says, “The soul of blessing will be made fat.” The idea here is that a person wants to bless others. This men or woman is generous in the very core of their being. Their normal response is to be kind and generous to others. God tells us that this kind of person will be prosperous.
Some in the “name-it, claim it” movement states that this means they will have lots of money. But I’ve seen over the years people who would not be in any way described as rich – be very generous and be very prosperous. They are this way not just with money – but with their time, with their service, their spiritual gifts. From their “poverty” they richly prosper because they choose a mindset of “My life can reveal God in His Neighborhood” I’ve known these people to be some of the most blessed people in my life. They have nothing to their names, but they have God in their “neighborhoods” called their hearts and their souls.
Thus, in defining prosperity, we likewise need to define it not just as monetary prosperity, but also as prosperity of soul as well. God moves in that place also.
When a truly generous person generously shares their prosperity, from their poverty, a cycle of “refreshing” begins to turn, until it is hard to tell which came first, the generosity, or the feeling of prosperity and refreshment. God calls us to be a source of refreshment to others, and generally, the degree to which we are able to do that will be the degree to which we ourselves receive refreshment in return. This seems to line up with the way that he has created the world with certain principles of justice and mercy. God is more generous from His “poverty” than we can imagine. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
The way to approach this proverb is simply to generously believe it and then generously seek to be a person who refreshes others and is generous from their impoverished state. It is also reasonable to examine yourself if you don’t feel refreshed. How generous have you been? Do you believe that you are deprived, your resources are scarce? Has it caused you to hold back from being generous? If so, then you are unlikely to feel refreshed, or that God is generous with you.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 11:25
#1 “A generous person…”
This is a person who gives freely because they understand that Jesus came that they would have a generous life and have it abundantly. They understand that God is the source of all they have and that he cannot be out given (2 Cor. 9:6).
#2 “…will prosper;”
Prosperity is an all-encompassing word that only partially refers to money. Jesus said that our Father in heaven knows what we need and will add all things as we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Generous living is a key part of seeking God’s kingdom and will cause us to prosper. (Mt. 6:19-24 and 25-34)
#3 “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
The life of a generous lover and follower of God is refreshing in itself. You won’t find a life of following God that is disconnected from generosity to others.
The last aspect of this proverb says that the one who waters others, will himself be watered. This is an allusion to the agricultural world.
When someone waters a plant, he is providing much needed moisture to the plant for its health, growth and welfare. The picture here is not of a plant being watered, but of a person being blessed. When we are generous with our time and our ministry to others, we are helping them grow spiritually. When we do this, God lets us know that we ourselves will be aided in our spiritual growth.
The way this works is truly amazing – because so often our fallen nature wants everyone to “water and refresh us” rather than to refresh, pour out into others.
At the risk of being prideful, I will use an example from my own life. There have been many days that I have woken up and did not want to do anything. I was filled with thoughts of myself – and all I wanted was to do my own thing – or to just sit and do nothing. Often on these days I feel pretty depressed and useless.
But on several of them God began to speak to my heart, encouraging me to get up and actively go out somewhere to bless someone else who needed it. What is funny is that at first when I chose to obey God in this, I was not terribly excited about the whole thing. Usually, I did it by accessing what seemed to be the last ounce of strength I could muster (really this was not the case – I just get a kind of dramatic when I am an over-zealous selfish blob of bah, blah and humbugs.
What is truly astounding though is how I was generously watered by the Holy Spirit as I ventured forth outside of my “humbugs” to just bless someone else.
Eventually the over generous supply of my blahs would begin to lift – and my attitude would alter radically. By the end of the day, I would notice that I had come full circle, being filled with joy over God’s goodness in it all.
I remember a good friend talking about a friend of his who had a day like this. He chose to get up, drive 500 miles in a day and go, bless someone else with the “fishing trip of their lifetimes.” The story concludes with this man stating that it was because this brother obeyed God that he himself was saved. The man he went to bless – was him. He shared the gospel with my friend – and later that evening, at a revival service he invited him to attend, he gave his life to Christ.
Remember this proverb the next time you get into a spiritual and emotional funk. Decide to go do something that will generously bless others. Choose to be generous – to go out and our out an abundance of water upon someone whose spiritual life is impoverished, dry, as longing and thirsty as a dear and barren.
Go out and bless someone else who could never repay you for what you are about to do. When you do this – you will soon learn the generously refreshing truth of this passage. From your “impoverished state,” you will be prosperous spiritually – and – you will find yourself being watered by God Himself for your generosity – and by your willingness to adopt His character as your very own.
True happiness comes when you put pursuing things to the side and to begin living a life of generosity. And the great thing about generosity is that you don’t have to have several tons of money to do it. It can start by simply just buying a friend a Water who is having a bad day. Or helping your neighbor carry in their trash cans. It could be cooking a friend some meals after they’ve had surgery.
Being generous doesn’t have to take a lot of money, it’s just about getting out of yourself and the singular pursuit of our stuff and into being a blessing to other people around us. So today ask God for ways that you can begin to be generous.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
O Lord, my zealously generous God, thank you that your work is perfect, your ways are just, you are a God of faithfulness. You have said that in all things at all times, from my poverty, you will be the One to supply all that I need. Please help me to abundantly trust only in your generous power to bring breakthroughs in situations where I cannot find a solution. Be exalted above the heavens, O God. Let Your glory be above all the earth. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
One thought on “Proverbs 11:25: Watering Others and Getting Watered Yourself. Meaning of the Generous Person Will Prosper.”
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