I wouldn’t blame newbies to Christianity for being a little confused at first. So many of the main teachings of the faith are paradoxes, i.e., seeming contradictions. For example: the teaching that God is simultaneously one and three. Another: that on Calvary God punished the plainly innocent and pardoned the obviously guilty. Or this: Jesus said that you have to lose your life to be fully alive.
Paradoxes abound as well in the way God invites us to live our daily lives. You would think it’s an obvious truism that the more you give away, the less you will have. Not so, says God. Just the reverse! “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
This is the paradox of generosity: In giving you always end up with more, and it is in serving that your needs are always met. People who encounter this principle for the first time are undoubtedly skeptical. I get that. But just try it out and see what happens. People who volunteer to tutor low-income children; who spend of themselves as coaches and mentors; who work on Habitat builds; who volunteer at thrift stores, clothes banks, and food pantries; who help out frail, elderly, and disabled people in their neighborhood—all end up with more than they started with! Seriously! God’s guarantee of refreshment always happens. Generous people always prosper.
Don’t believe me? Ask a volunteer.