Proverbs on Prosperity: There Is That Scattereth and Yet Increaseth

There’s a concept in holy scripture about giving and receiving that may seem contradictory to some. Simply, the more you give, the more you receive, and the more you hold back, less and less comes your way.

Here’s a powerful verse in Proverbs chapter 11 that demonstrates this:

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty (v. 24).

For illustration, he’s another translation of the same verse from the New International Version:

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

Compare this verse in Ecclesiastes, also in chapter 11:

Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days (v. 1).

Now compare these words of Jesus:

Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you. . . . For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (Mark 4:24–25.)

Giving generously to others—of our time, attention, or wealth—requires strong faith followed by action, or, in some cases, faith follows action. As the Savior said:

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself (John 7:17).

In other words, you don’t truly know until you do. You have to change behavior. You have to walk the walk. You have to get your skin in the game. You have to be committed and follow through if you want to know if a divine principle is true.

I love what Marion G. Romney said about this subject (quoted by L. Tom Perry):

I remember a long time ago, over 50 years, when Brother [Melvin J.] Ballard laid his hands on my head and set me apart to go on a mission. He said in that prayer of blessing that a person could not give a crust to the Lord without receiving a loaf in return. That’s been my experience. If the members of the Church would double their fast-offering contributions, the spirituality in the Church would double. We need to keep that in mind and be liberal in our contributions. (Welfare Agricultural Meeting, 3 Apr. 1971, p. 1.)

Doubling your fast offering? That is faith.

Finally, many of us are familiar with these words from Malachi:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (ch. 3 v. 10).

To receive, we must give, and the more we give, the more we will receive. When we are honestly generous, the bread we cast upon the waters will return to us—a crust for a loaf. It’s an immutable law. If you have not experienced it yourself, stretch your faith and try it. The reward of faith and generosity may not return to you in the way you imagine or at the time you think it will, but surely it will return multiplied. Of this I am certain.

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