The holidays truly are a wonderful time of year. Good food, family gathered, and generosity on full display.
Did you know that charitable giving goes up 30% at the end of the year? While donations are wonderful and much needed, money is not the only way God has called us to give back. He has entrusted us with our time, talent, and treasures for a reason. He wants us to share them all with His Church and His children.
Use these 12 Proverbs to encourage your church to give their time and talent in addition to their treasures this year end.
1. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” -Proverbs 3:27
When you have the ability to be generous, be generous.
We can all be generous to others. Generosity doesn’t have to be a large financial gift or a huge, grand gesture. It can be something as simple as giving up some of your time to sit with a sick friend in the hospital. It can be sharing your talents by singing worship songs with children at church. It can be sharing your treasures by purchasing the person’s coffee behind you in the drive through line at Starbucks.
Generosity comes in all shapes and sizes. So when you are faced with the opportunity to be generous, no matter how big or how seemingly small it may be, act on it.
2. “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the Great.” -Proverbs 18:16
Generosity brings us closer to God.
God has given us everything we have from our time to our talent to our treasures. Nothing we have is ours. It all belongs to God. And He’s given us specific instructions on how to steward what He’s given us. One of those instructions is to give back to others. When we do this, we are taking our next step in faith and showing our devotion to God. He will see this and reward it. Being a cheerful, generous disciple (2 Corinthians 9:7) will bring you closer to the Lord.
3. “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” -Proverbs 14:31
Compassion honors God.
Regardless of race, age, education, or social status, we are all created equally and loved by the Father. No one person is greater than another. But some of us do possess more resources than others. And what are we called to do with those resources? Give back to others, but especially the poor.
In Leviticus 19:9-10, the Lord instructs farmers to leave some of their harvest for the poor and needy. He commands us to look out for one another. But He also promises that in doing so He will supply every need of ours according to His riches (Philippians 4:19). God won’t leave you hanging. He will meet your needs as you meet the needs of those around you, and reward you for following His call.
4. “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.” -Proverbs 19:17
Be kind to all, especially the poor.
Matthew 25 tells us how Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats. Whatever we do for others in a time of need, we also do for the Lord (Matthew 25:20). Those who honor God in this way will be the sheep. But whatever we do not do for others in hardship, we do not do for the Lord (Matthew 25:45). Those who turn their back on the cries of the needy and dishonor God will be the goats. Jesus drew a very clear line that when we help the poor or turn our back on the needy that we are doing the same to the Lord our God.
5. “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.” -Proverbs 21:13
Don’t turn away from the needy.
In Luke 8: 40-56, we see Jesus walking through a crowd. All had been waiting for Him and welcomed Him, many with requests for healing. When Jairus approached Jesus requesting a miracle for his daughter, Jesus did not delay nor turn away. On the way to see Jarius’s daughter, a woman reached out and touched his robe. Jesus immediately stopped to search for the woman and acknowledge her faith. Even on his way to perform a miracle, Jesus did not shut His ears to the cries of others. Neither should we.
6. “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” -Proverbs 22:9”
Share what you have with others.
Share your food with the poor. Your clothes with the needy. Your time with the sick. Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31). Don’t just give your leftovers to others or to God. Bring as a sacrifice something better than you would give to yourself. God will see this and bless you for it.
7. “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” -Proverbs 25:21
Give to all, even your enemies.
God calls us to give to all. This includes the rich, the poor in spirit, the under-resourced, and even our enemies. Listen to their cry and generously give to them.
8. “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” -Proverbs 29:7
Seek to understand the troubles of others.
Ignorance is not bliss. God challenges us to seek to understand one another better.
A righteous person will take the time to get to know the trouble of the poor. What is their life like on a daily basis? What are the struggles they face? How are they truly feeling? Genuinely take the time to know the poor so you can best care for them. The wicked have no concern for the realities of the needy. Do not be so absorbed in your own troubles that you cannot see the troubles of those around you.
9. “Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” -Proverbs 31:9
Defend other’s rights.
Time and time again in the Bible we are told to speak up for righteousness and to defend others (1 Thessalonians 5:14 and Leviticus 19:17). If we simply sit back and watch it happen, the Bible tells us that we are just as guilty as those who have sinned (Ezekiel 3:18). Use your voice and influence to defend others and spread the Truth.
10. “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” -Proverbs 28:27
There are consequences to not listening to God.
Those who give to the poor will be richer in spirit. Those who give food will not go hungry. Those who sacrifice goods to help others will not miss them. But the person who turns their back on the cry of the needy will not see generosity in their own hardships. When you turn your back on someone in need, you are also turning your back on God.
11. “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
The generous will prosper.
You know that saying, “you only get what you give”? Well that’s essentially what this Proverb is saying.
Those who are generous to others will experience generosity from others. Their kindness will be repaid greater than the amount they originally sacrificed, especially in times of hardship. But for those who turn their back on others in need, they will experience the same thing, more often than not being ignored in a crisis.
God will reward those who use the resources He’s entrusted them with (our time, talent, and treasures) to help His children (1 Peter 4:10-11).
12. “All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing.” -Proverbs 21:26
Don’t be afraid to give sacrificially.
Just like in the story of the Widow’s Mite (Luke 21:1-4), we see a parallel between the rich and the poor. The rich put their gifts in the treasury, not out of sacrifice but out of abundance and a desire for the approval of others, not Jesus. But a poor widow put in all she had, only two coins. Jesus recognized her sacrifice and He sees your sacrifice too. He cares more about the heart behind the gift than the amount itself.