The gardener of a castle in Scotland had a son who dreamed of becoming a medical doctor. One day, the son of a visiting dignitary was swimming in the castle’s pool. Hit suddenly with severe cramping, the boy began to struggle to stay afloat. The gardener’s son dived into the water and kept him from drowning. The father of the rescued boy was so overjoyed that he insisted on repaying the gardener’s son in some way. The gardener told him of his son’s dream, and the man volunteered to finance it – but that’s not the end of the story – the boy who nearly drowned was Winston Churchill! Years later, while Churchill was England’s Prime Minister, he became deathly ill. His only hope for survival was a recently-discovered drug – penicillin. After the new medicine, Churchill recovered completely; but the wonder of it all, is Dr. Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, was the gardener’s son who had saved Churchill’s life years earlier!
There are at least two great lessons in this story. One is the principle of scattering and the other is the principle of God’s sovereignty. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” The principle of scattering is one that at first seems to violate the laws of the marketplace – hold onto what is yours! Keep your knowledge, expertise and assets close to the vest or someone will take advantage of you. Conversely, the principle of scattering is to disperse, spread out, give away what you have – your knowledge, energy and expertise. Without concern, you should invest your life and resources in others.
When you are helping others succeed, God is also watchfully caring for you. In God’s economy, the more you scatter, the more you gather – not necessarily in financial form, but rather a thriving, flourishing life. The principle of scattering doesn’t mean we check our wisdom and discernment at the office door (i.e. we probably wouldn’t share our latest marketing idea with our primary competitor!) However, we are always looking for ways to help others, to cause others to succeed. Have you been scattering or withholding?
The second great lesson from this story is God’s creative sovereignty – how He orchestrates circumstances and relationships and events to intersect at just the right moments in history. Have you been to the ocean lately? Caught one of His sunsets? Like Winston Churchill, encountered the right person at precisely the right moment by “chance”? Even in the marketplace, God is constantly employing His intentional, innovative power to fulfill His noble purposes – and sometimes we can recognize how our story intersects with His bigger story. Are you looking for God’s creative hand in your life today? Will you disperse blessings to others this week, in accordance with God’s command and promise?