Tag Archives: Lending

The Miser and the Psalm 112 Man

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
2 Corinthians 9:6

Many years ago I was traveling with a colleague who, inadvertently made a comment that stung. Being a right-brained creative, I’m always searching for new and better ways to organize myself. Also, being a right-brained creative I tend to get bored quickly and move on to try new things. So it was that I had been experimenting with making a custom, daily to-do list on a 3×5 card that I kept on a leather blotter in my pocket. I like things small and compact.

I realized why you write so small and put everything on a tiny card,” my colleague said.

I took the bait. “Oh yeah? Why is that?” I answered.

Because you’re such a miser. You’re miserly about everything.”

Wow. Granted, I come from a Dutch heritage famous for thrift, but I’d never in my life been told that I was a “miser.” The conversation ended and the subject never came up again, but the comment stuck with me like a soul wound. Am I a miser?

Sometime later I read Psalm 112, and as I read it I realized that it described the kind of man I wanted to be. So I memorized it. I still whisper it to myself all the time. I even had the reference tattooed on my right bicep. Interestingly, the lyrics of the psalm twice mentions generosity:

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.

Looking back in 20-20 hindsight, I believe my colleague’s comment was a misguided perception based on other factors that need not be mentioned here. I’ve long since forgiven and let it go. It did, however, create a beneficial period of honest introspection, and it motivated me to increasingly live out Psalm 112 in my daily life. I know I have further to go in that journey, but Wendy and I desire to be consciously and tangibly generous with all of the blessings God has given us.

In today’s chapter, Paul is appealing to the generosity of Jesus’ followers in Corinth as he takes up an offering for the believers starving amidst the famine in Judea and Samaria. Interestingly, he quotes Psalm 112, and of course it leapt off the page at me.

In the quiet this morning I am thankful for my old colleague who caused me to pause and take a hard, introspective look inward. I am once again whispering through Psalm 112. As along week of work begins that will take me to the west coast and back, I’m thinking about the opportunities I will have to be a generous person in different ways with many different people I don’t even know. We can use more generosity in this world, don’t you think?

Have a good week, my friend.

Respecting the Stuff of Others

You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Deuteronomy 19:14 (NRSV)

I was on the road last week making numerous presentations for several client teams that we serve. Over the course of the week I was in and out of six different conference rooms in four different buildings across three geographical locations. There is a small principle that I have followed across the 23 years I’ve been working for many different clients: Always leave the room cleaner than you found it.

This can be difficult when I’m jetting from one room or location to make it to another on time. Nevertheless, before leaving a conference room I try to always straighten the chairs, put things away, pick up and throw away any trash left out, turn off the projector, retract the screen, and turn the lights out upon exit. It is a simple principle to respect the property of our client.

In today’s chapter, amidst all sorts of legal ramblings and rumination about intentional and unintentional homicide, there is stuck this one little command: Don’t move your neighbor’s boundary marker. In other words, respect that which belongs to your neighbor, and don’t take it for yourself.

One of my “life chapters” is Psalm 112 which states that good will come to the person who is generous and lends freely, and I try to be generous with all the stuff with which God has blessed me. When I lend something out I appreciate when it is returned in good shape and has been well cared for. I try to always do the same for the things other lend to me.

Today, I’m reminded of the simple principle of respecting other people’s stuff the way I appreciate my stuff respected.