Gary Hoag: We Become Richer Through our Giving – Augustine of Hippo

“For a possession which is not diminished by being shared with others, if it is possessed and not shared, is not yet possessed as it ought to be possessed. The Lord saith “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given” [Matt. 13:12]

He will give, then, to those who have; that is to say, if they use freely and cheerfully what they have received, He will add to and perfect His gifts. The loaves in the miracle were only five [Luke 9:10-17] and seven [Matt. 15:29-39] in number before the disciples began to divide them among the hungry people. But when once they began to distribute them, though the wants of so many thousands were satisfied, they filled baskets with the fragments that were left.

Now, just as that bread increased in the very act of breaking it, so those thoughts which the Lord has already vouchsafed to me with a view to undertaking this work will, as soon as I begin to impart them to others, be multiplied by His grace, so that, in this very work of distribution in which I have engaged, so far from incurring loss and poverty, I shall be made to rejoice in a marvelous increase of wealth.”

Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo in 397 A.D. in Christian Doctrine 1.1. Today I chose to read one of my favorite thinkers in church history and one who was mentioned often at the EFCA theology conference, Augustine.

Let us celebrate this idea he puts forth that the God of abundance calls us to enjoy and share His blessings not for His good but for ours. When we do, we are perpetually enriched, not impoverished! May this also sober us with regard to our stewardship, for when we fail to steward possessions with generosity, we actually fail to possess them following the Master’s instructions (cf. 1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Share this Post