Giving to get and getting to give… today’s Morning and Evening highlights the reciprocal nature of providing for others.
The best medicines typically oppose our inclinations. Need comfort? Be a comfort to someone else. There is so much benefit in serving others, but those gains are not our only motivators. As Christ’s servants, we have been called to the task. Galatians 5:13-14 says…
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered. — Proverbs 11:25
We are taught here the great lesson that to get, we must give; to accumulate, we must scatter; to make ourselves happy, we must make others happy; and in order to become spiritually vigorous, we must seek the spiritual good of others. In watering others, we are ourselves watered. How? Our efforts to be useful bring out our powers for usefulness. We have latent talents and unused gifts that become apparent by exercise. Our strength for work is even hidden from ourselves until we take our stand and fight the Lord’s battles or climb the mountains of difficulty. We do not know what tender sympathies we possess until we try to dry the widow’s tears and soothe the orphan’s grief.
We often find in attempting to teach others that we gain instruction for ourselves. What gracious lessons some of us have learned in visiting the sick! We went to teach the Scriptures, and we came away blushing that our knowledge of them was so poor. In our conversation with humble saints, we are taught the way of God more perfectly for ourselves and get a deeper insight into divine truth. So watering others makes us humble. We discover how much grace there is where we had not looked for it, and how much the humble saint may outstrip us in knowledge.
Our own comfort is also increased by working for others. We endeavor to cheer them, and the consolation gladdens our own heart. Consider the two men in the snow—one massaged the other’s limbs to keep him from dying, and in doing so kept his own blood circulating and saved his own life. Remember the poor widow who supplied the prophet’s needs from her own meager resources, and from that day she never experienced need again. Give, and it will be given to you—good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.