Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. ~Proverbs 3:27-28
How eager or reluctant are you to give away things? Perhaps you have an opportunity to pass along a kind word. Or maybe a chance to volunteer your time and expertise. You may be able to contribute some of your money. Or maybe the Holy Spirit is urging you to share your testimony and invite someone to follow Jesus. Whether it’s one of these or some other tangible expression of charitable generosity, these verses remind you to avoid hesitation at such moments.
But who might be a person “to whom it is due?” And who is your neighbor? Think for a moment about the people in your life you deserve your gratitude, kindness or encouragement. Your parents? Maybe your husband or wife? Other family or loved ones? That special teacher or coach who poured into your life or the life of your child? A youth ministry worker?
Is it in your power to render some appreciation or token of your gratitude? Do it. Send a note or an e-card. Send flowers. Return their tools. Pray for them. Make a phone call. Stop by in person to say what’s on your mind. If you have the ability to follow through on what the Holy Spirit is urging you to do, don’t wait. Do it without wavering.
In Luke 6:30-31, Jesus expresses this Old Testament principle, and adds a new twist:
Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Jesus expands upon the original teaching in Proverbs 3. Rather than just considering the needs of your neighbor, you are instructed to give to everyone who asks. And even if someone takes something of yours, you are not to demand or expect that it be returned. And above all, give other people the consideration you expect: Be polite, kind, generous, forgiving — exactly the way you’d like to treated by them.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7:
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
This verse appears in the context of handling money — charitable gifts. But the principle applies whether you’re contributing bills and coins, your time, your advice, explaining how to find eternal life in Jesus, or giving anything else away. Give happily. Give with abandon, not because you are compelled, but because it makes you happy.
As you study God’s word and pray today, ask the Lord to make clear what you are supposed to give to someone else today. Pray for insight to see the opportunity to give, and for determination to give generously, without hesitation.