Bounty Is In the Eye of the Beholder

Cruising through Solomon’s one-liners in Proverbs this morning and there’s one that kind of stops me in my tracks. A phrase in it catching my attention and then immediately stirring my thoughts. And if I were to summarize what I’m thinking, it’s that bounty is in the eye of the beholder.

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
  for he shares his bread with the poor.

(Proverbs 22:9 ESV)

That this is an encouragement towards generosity is obvious. Other versions of the bible, taking a less literal approach, equate a bountiful eye with a generous man (NIV) or a generous eye (NKJV). So he who is generous (NASB) will be blessed.

The Hebrew word for bountiful is most often translated as good. So it’s the good eye that is the bountiful eye that is the generous eye.

But what strikes me is it’s not the good person, or even the one who is has lots, who is generous. But the person with a bountiful eye.

So what if the bountiful eye isn’t so much the equivalent of being generous, but rather the catalyst behind the dynamic of generosity? That it’s not so much an eye which looks around for objects to do good unto, but the eye that views whatever it has as an unmerited bounty to be stewarded? Less about a person with a benevolent disposition and more about a person who is somewhat in awe that they’ve been entrusted with any material possessions, at all?

What if the bountiful eye is the one that looks upon whatever they have as God’s gracious provision and blessing and thus, just as they have freely received, they’re motivated to freely give?

To be honest, I don’t quite understand the miserly mindset. Never been locked into saving for savings sake. Sure, I get that there is a wise stewardship required in planning for tomorrow while trusting God for today. But I also think that there shouldn’t be any people more generous than God’s people.

After all, of anyone, we who have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3) should appreciate that whatever is in our earthly bank accounts, whether much or not so much, is also God’s gracious provision. And, while we can’t share what we don’t have, we certainly can share out of what we do have. I’m reminded that Jesus held up as an example a widow who gave only two pennies as being more generous than others who were giving more because “they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty” (Mk. 12:41-44).

Do I look at my possessions, whether many or few, as being my possessions, or as God’s gracious provision? Do I view my bank account, whether much or not so much, as what I have worked for and therefore is mine, or as evidence of God’s good hand upon my harvest and therefore really His? If, regardless of how much it is, I see it as bountiful because it is God’s bounty toward me, then might not it motivate me to share my “bread” with the others? I’m thinkin’ . . .

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

(Hebrews 13:16 ESV)

Sure, sharing what you have, especially if you don’t have much, might be a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice pleasing to God.

Oh, that God would give us the eye that sees whatever we have as His bountifulness to us. And that we would share freely of those treasures as unto Him.

Bounty is in the eye of the beholder.

And that, says wisdom, will be blessed.

Because of His bountiful grace. All for His bountiful glory.

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