“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 11:25
There are many reasons why a truly generous person will prosper. There does seem to be a distinction between those who seem to share their happiness and relative prosperity with those around them, and those who seem to serve others out of some sort of obligation and self-hatred. The grumpy social worker comes to mind who chooses the career in order to look down on those they serve.
But when a truly generous person shares their prosperity, a cycle of “refreshing” begins to turn, until it is hard to tell which came first, the generosity, or the feeling of prosperity and refreshment. God calls us to be a source of refreshment to others, and generally, the degree to which we are able to do that will be the degree to which we ourselves receive refreshment in return. This seems to line up with the way that he has created the world with certain principles of justice and mercy. God is more generous than we can imagine. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt 5:45).
The way to approach this proverb is simply to believe it and then seek to be a person who refreshes others and is generous. It is also reasonable to examine yourself if you don’t feel refreshed. How generous have you been? Do you believe that you are deprived and your resources are scarce? Has that caused you to hold back from being generous? If so, then you are unlikely to feel refreshed, or that God is generous with you.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 11:25
#1 “A generous person…”
This is a person who gives freely because they understand that Jesus came that they would have life, and have it abundantly. They understand that God is the source of all they have and that he cannot be out given (2 Cor 9:6).
#2 “…will prosper;”
Prosperity is an all-encompassing word that only partially refers to money. Jesus said that our Father in heaven knows what we need and will add all things as we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Generous living is a key part of seeking God’s kingdom and will cause us to prosper.
#3 “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
The life of a true lover and follower of God is refreshing in itself. You don’t find a life of following God that is disconnected from generosity to others.
Expert Overview of Proverbs
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 11:25
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.