In The Bible Today; Proverbs 11
Understanding The Bible
The Bible is a timeless text of perennial wisdom. It tells us not only of God and mankind, but it also guides us on our path as spiritual beings in human bodies.
Though the Bible sometimes seems inapproachable and complex, these studies are designed to make the Bible accessible to everyone and applicable to everyday life.
This study uses the SOAP technique: Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer. As you read through and study the bible, and a verse sticks out to you, write it down. Then write down your personal observations regarding the scripture, along with historical notations and any other pertinent information. After you make a thorough observation of the scripture, meditate on how you might apply the lesson learned to your own life. How can you use this particular verse to improve your life or make your spiritual journey better? Finally, write out a prayer to God, as you think about the scripture.
This technique will help you find more meaning from your study of scripture, and will help deepen your walk along a spiritual path.
Scripture: Proverbs 11:24-25
Proverbs 11: 24-25 KJV "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself."
Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly , but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
Proverbs 11:24-25 AMP "There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more; And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty. The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown.]"
Observation: These verses challenge us to redefine our idea of generosity and prosperity. Through giving, you receive more. From hoarding, you dry up and wither away. By embracing the abundance that God provides minute by minute, you can grow outside your fear of not having enough.
Fear of scarcity causes us to react by retreating. Whether it is money, resources, time or love, when we are fearful, we hoard what little we have, because we are so afraid to lose it. The bible has many examples of losing everything by tightly grasping.
The first example that comes to mind is the Parable of the Talents, found in Matthew 25. In it, a master gives five talents (think gold coins) to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to the third servant, for safe keeping. When the master returns, the servant with the five talents had doubled the amount to ten. The servant with two talents had doubled them, to four. The last servant, who had been fearful and buried the coin, had only the one dirty coin to return.
The master remarked, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many." He goes on to take the one talent from the fearful servant, and reprimand him for not putting the money in the bank to earn interest.
The servant acted out of fear. When we act out of fear, we neglect our own best interest, and retreat into ourselves. We forget that the Universe is fully abundant in all things, and that we are richly blessed.
We each have a choice to give. We can share the abundance that God has blessed us with and what we receive in return will be so much more. We can give not only of ourselves - kindness, hope, love, time, but we can also give of our gifts - healing, writing, serving. We can also give of our resources - money, material, knowledge. As we share these things, God multiplies what we have, in order that we can be a bigger blessing to those around us.
The Hands of the Potter
Application: I read recently in a yoga magazine about an experiment in a yoga studio. The instructor challenged her students to give something to someone every day for thirty days.
It seemed like a simple challenge, and I wanted to see if I could do it. For an entire month I needed to give something to someone. During the first days, this challenge seemed daunting. However, once I put my mind to it and got started, I realized I that I really can give something every day.
One day, a cup of coffee to a stranger. One day, my undivided attention to my son. Another day, a phone call to a long forgotten friend. As I approached each day with a heart to give, I was fulfilled and joyous in ways that I have never been before.
The experiment was successful, but it is important to hold the lesson within your heart, every single day. Get into the habit of giving something of yourself every day. You might find your life blessed beyond measure.
It doesn't have to be money. It doesn't have to be stuff. Give of your time. Give of your talents. Give from your heart.
Prayer: Lord, today let me look with gratitude at the blessings in my life. Help me see opportunities to give out of the abundance of my thankful heart.
Father, help me remember that I am abundantly and continually blessed. When these blessings flow into and through my life and into the lives of others, then I make way for you to shower me with more love, more opportunity and more happiness.