Ed Miskovic, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | February 12, 2024

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10

The old rabbi stood stout. His hands punctuated his wisdom. “You see, Eddie, though you’re not Jewish, keep these words. Generosity is good. The receiver is blessed. The giver is blessed. But when you give, it’s better if you do not know who you are helping. It is given without the expectation of being thanked. On the other hand, when you receive help from somebody, it is also better not to know who is helping you. In not knowing there is no obligation attached. The giver’s motivation is not complicated by pride, public recognition or hope of influence. The receiver is not beholden to the giver; there is less possibility of feeling shame for taking a hand out.”

Once, I found a $20 bill at the sidewalk curb with no one in sight to claim it. Not long after, at the grocery checkout, I saw a woman with her children and she was short on cash. I honored the Spirit’s leading to help a stranger, my neighbor, and the $20 went to her to save her the embarrassment of returning items. 

One summer, when on the exit ramp of Interstate 290, the traffic bumpered its way to Harlem Ave. There was a man walking from car to car in the exit lane, asking for money. As I looked at him car lengths ahead, I fingered my favorite change purse for quarters. Its brown embossed leather was so filled to the brim its zipper would not close. The traffic light turned green, and as I drove near him, I gently pressed my prized coin purse into his weathered hands. He looked inside with eagerness. My gift to him was the purse as much as the change because it gave him a place to store it. That day, I honored the Spirit’s impulse to give and remembered the rabbi’s words. I thanked God for the memory.

As I reflect on the rabbi’s words, I now realize that although he did not speak directly to today’s proverb, he did leave space, so to speak, for the proverb’s message. Between his words, the invitation to “honor the Lord with your wealth,”  is nicely tucked. For it is God who will be praised by both the receiver and the giver when they do not know each other. In both circumstances, our barns overflow and our vats fill to the brim, for that is the promise. Truly, we honor the Lord when we give. 

Next Steps

Reflect on times when you have given something away to a person or ministry you do not know.  How could you honor the Lord this way this week?