There is that scatters, and yet increases; and there is that withholds more than is meet, but it tends to poverty.
We am accustomed to speak as if the man who spends freely is a spendthrift, and as if the man who restrains his hand is on the way to wealth. But if that is our thought, we am often and much mistaken. There is an -
I. EXPENSIVE ECONOMY. "There is that withholdeth," etc.
1. If we keep back the wage that is due to the workman, we shall miss the blessing that goes with justice, and suffer the curse which attends injustice (James 5:1 4).
2. If we keep back the corn we should sow more plentifully, or the strength we should expend more liberally, or the mental power we should employ more patiently and systematically, we shall reap less bountifully, we shall make less profit, we shall do less work in the spiritual sphere. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly" (2 Corinthians 9:6).
3. If we shut up our thought and our care to our own heart, or even our own home, we shall lose all the harvest of love and blessing we might reap if we did not withhold ourselves from those outside our door. It is a poor economy, indeed, that hides its talent in a napkin.
II. PROFITABLE EXPENDITURE. There is a bound beyond which we should not go in putting forth our resources, physical, pecuniary, mental, spiritual What that limit is every one must decide for himself. Regard should certainly be had to the preservation of health and to the necessity for replenishment. But we may often wisely and rightly go very much further than we do; and if we did we should find that we were liberally repaid. Our scattering would mean increase, our liberality would mean nourishment, our endeavour to enrich others would result in our own growth and ripeness; watering them, we should ourselves be watered. This is true of:
1. Human sympathy and love. The friendly man makes many friends; and to have true friends is to be blessed indeed.
2. The energetic pursuit of our vocation, whatever it may be. It is the man who throws his full energies into his work who is repaid in the end.
3. Generous helpfulness. Give money, time, thought, counsel, whatever you have to give, unto those who need it, unto the young, the ignorant, the baffled and beaten, the unfortunate, the slain in life's battlefield; and there shall come back to you that which will be far more valuable than anything or all that you have expended. There shall come to you
(1) the smile of that Divine Saviour who gave himself for us, who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor;
(2) the gratitude of those whom you serve, afterwards and yonder if not now and here;
(3) spiritual enlargement, - the "soul will be made fat," the heart will expand, and Christian graces of many kinds and of much beauty will make their home there.
III. THE SUPERIOR CLAIM. (Ver. 26.) A man has a right to do the best he can for himself; the best, even, for his own purse, though that is saying something very different and much less. But this right may soon be traversed. It is so crossed when a man cannot go any further without injuring his brethren; that bars his way; obligation limits claim. In other words, the claim of our fellow men is greater far than that of our individual self. When the people are lacking bread, we may not hold back our corn. God has given us our powers and our resources, not that we may build up a fortune, but that we may be of true service in a world which is full of need. To grow rich is not at all necessary to any one, and proves to be a curse to multitudes; to feed the hungry, to minister to want and sorrow, to still the cry of pain or perishing, to make glad the heart and bright the life, - that is the real privilege and heritage of man. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.