Hurrying to my son’s baseball practice one windy winter day, I stumbled across a path of stepping stones leading to the field. Unless they fail to keep your feet dry, there’s usually nothing remarkable about stepping stones—but these were unique. Though rather faded by the Texas sun, each stone was inscribed with a verse or two from Scripture. Most of them were taken from the Psalms or Proverbs and offered youngsters fitting words of encouragement to heed instruction or work diligently on the field of play.
But one stone seemed so out of place from the theme of the rest. On a stone near the drinking fountain were the words from Proverbs 11:25:
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
It seemed that this particular verse may have been used in playful reference to the stone’s proximity to the water fountain, but on deeper reflection, I realized this powerful verse had little to do with water at all.
I first found the phrase “liberal soul” rather troublesome, especially with the recent political season fresh on my mind. The modern meaning typically defines those who seek to steer society away from its traditional (conservative) practices and beliefs. Could this really be from Scripture? After some study, I discovered that this unique reference to the “liberal soul”—the only occurrence in Scripture—applies to the original meaning of “liberal,” that is, “liberating” or “generous.” And in its biblical context, it refers to a person who is generous with his resources to help others.
Similarly, the following promise that those who are generous “shall be made fat” is not a biblical endorsement of a certain physical condition. Rather, it is a beautiful guarantee from the Great Provider Himself that He will always amply provide for those who are first generous.
The concept of water is used in the second part of this verse to convey a theme of blessing commonly found throughout Scripture. The phrase “he that watereth” literally means someone who refreshes, and in turn, they are promised that they “shall be watered also” with similar refreshment. What a marvelous promise of continued renewal to those who first seek to refresh others!
Outside the fence of a simple baseball park on the blustery plains of Texas, I was shown a great lesson: In order to get, we must first give; in order to accumulate, we must first scatter; and in order to become refreshed, we must first seek to refresh others. The world’s way to prosperity calls for guarding and hoarding our earthly riches, but this is not the Lord’s way. God’s way of gaining is by giving.
We at the Institute for Creation Research earnestly seek to glorify our Creator in all that we do, and we liberally give of our ministry to all who ask. ICR’s work is supported by similar “liberal souls” who share our vision to communicate the wonders of God’s magnificent creation to a lost and dying world. We can do so much more, but not without God’s provision through His people. Please prayerfully consider how you can partner with us.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris IV, H. 2013. Gaining God’s Way. Acts & Facts. 42 (2): 21.