The Pitfalls of the Stingy

Sam Petitfils

"The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them."  Proverbs 28:22

Sometimes called a “miser,” the stingy person thinks he or she can grow wealthy by never parting with their money.  While they seem to live a modest lifestyle, in fact they “hoard” their resources so that one day they can become rich.  To be sure, accumulating resources for a rainy day, and for perhaps retirement, reflects good stewardship and has biblical support (Proverbs 13:11; 27:23-27).  But stingy attitudes towards others cannot find support in Scripture.

Then note the warning: he “is unaware that poverty awaits him.”  We should not be surprised at this, since the Lord possesses all things and alone has the power to share them with whom He chooses (1 Timothy 6:17).  If someone gathers up wealth at the expense of furthering God’s work, God will not bless his or her efforts (see Malachi 3:6-11; Haggai 1:5-6).  The verse actually implies they will lose what they have so carefully, but stingily gathered.

Generous Christians always keep God uppermost in their minds on matters of stewardship.  They know He commands us to seek Him first then He, in turn, will supply our needs (Matthew 6:33; Luke 6:38; Philippians 4:19).  When we give to God and others, God does not dry up our source of supply; after all, He is our source of supply.  He provides the seed for us to dispense for His work (2 Corinthians 9:10).  Giving not only promotes a healthy spiritual life, but also grants us new discoveries of God’s grace to us.  When we give, God supplies us with more to share, and even takes care of all our needs.  Paul, when writing to Gentiles, saved out of a selfish and corrupt lifestyle, tells his Ephesian readers to no longer steal, but to do something useful with our own hands that we may have something to share with others (Ephesians 4:28).

In conclusion, we need to distinguish between healthy saving and miserly hoarding.  In the first instance, generous Christians also wisely prepare for the future as God would have us to.  On the other hand, the stingy person unfortunately becomes stingy towards God, a sure formula for poverty. 

Think of how this all works.

God sets the example by giving His own Son. (Philippians 2:5-11)

God blesses us with resources to share. (2 Corinthians 9:10)

When we give, we do not deplete our own resources, but instead watch God marvelously provide with more seed. (Luke 6:38)

People who benefit from our generosity praise God. (2 Corinthians 9:12-13)

God’s work moves forward. (see Philippians 4:14-19, where the Philippian Christians came to Paul’s aid when he had a need)


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