Proverbs 18:16 reads, "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men."  I have personally watched generosity do this very thing. My father was not a wealthy man but the little he did own was available to his friends or those who had need.  I watched as his generosity was abused.  Those to whom he lent would return items broken or abused.  Never did he complain or retaliate and never did he cease being generous.  His generosity caused those in his community to love and respect him.  All this because he was a generous man.  

This text from Proverbs does speak to the Oriental custom of offering gifts to a friend or superior.  But I do not believe it ONLY addresses that reality.  It seems that generosity is the foundation of this text. Proverbs 19:6 reads, "Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts."  Jesus also addressed using what we steward to influence others when He said in Luke 16:9, "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness..."  Jesus wants us to be generous with others and use what we possess to further His Kingdom purposes. 

Generosity can characterize anyone's life regardless their abilities, schedule or socio-economic status.  Using our time, talents and treasures to seek the favor of others in order to have the opportunity to plant truth in that relationship honors Christ.  The challenge for many is coming to see themselves as stewards and not owners of what they possess.  My father had that understanding.  And, curiously,  he did not take one of the possessions he gave away or lent to others with him when Jesus called him home!

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Have you ever faced a difficult day due to physical sickness?  Maybe you have had not a day but week's or months of physical struggle.  It is interesting how, very often, physical crises do not result in a broken spirit or a defeated heart.  In fact, just the opposite can occur.  People are encouraged to fight on with the help of their family and friends.  They are able, in the face of terrible odds to demonstrate great courage and resolve to defeat whatever physical foe they are fighting. 

We have been told by some in our past and our culture that emotional hurt or spiritual anguish should be ignored or that it is not significant enough to attempt to discern what is the root of that brokenness or the heartache in which we live.  Yet very often these emotional storms find us unable to rise from our beds.  They negatively affect our relationships, work life and our outlook on life.  Today's reading in Proverbs (18:14) states, "The spirit of a man can endure sickness, but as for a broken spirit who can bear it?" 

David cries out in today's psalm (3:1), "Oh Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me!...". It is curious that when David most intensely cries out to the Lord, it is not for a broken bone or a physical ailment.  His most passionate pleading comes as a result of family conflict, friends who turn in him or adversaries that plot against him.  His heartbreak can be heard and his anguish can be felt.  David's spirit could endure sickness but he could not bear a broken heart.  David was just like us. 

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