Wisdom Wednesday: The Power of Giving

"A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men."  —Proverbs 18:16

Photo credit: Charles Thompson via stock.xchng

Have you ever tried to ‘open a door’ by giving a gift? Maybe you wanted to get a special someone’s attention, make a good first impression, or gain favor. Proverbs 18:16 says that giving a gift has the power to open doors and give access to important people. Gifts are often given to people in positions of authority such as presidents, royalty, and judges. Part of doing so is etiquette or what is expected, but part of it is done in hopes of finding favor.  If an appropriate gift is given with knowledge about the person’s likes and desires, it can find its way into the recipient’s heart.

“An official never flogs the bearer of gifts.” —Chinese proverb

“A gift given in secret subdues anger, and a bribe given secretly subdues strong wrath.” —Proverbs 21:14 NET

Proverbs 17:8 well says that a bribe can work like a charm and bring success. We know how well bribes work in politics, because governments are well-known for being corrupt. So am I advocating the giving of bribes?  No, because if a person can be bought, then someone else can buy them for a higher price. It is better to not offer bribes nor to accept them.  When a bribe is accepted, there are often strings attached.

“A friend that you buy with presents, will be bought from you.” —Latin proverb

“He who would stop every man’s mouth must have a great deal of meal.” —Italian proverb

I once heard a friend say it is hard to say anything against someone who gives gifts or does nice things, even if the person is not really all that nice or even leads people astray in some way.  You probably know someone that is well-liked by a lot of people and either don’t know the real person or don’t care about moral ethics because what really matters to them is the end result and how it benefits them.  This, too, often happens in politics, whether it is in government, organizations, or even within families.

People with lots of wealth, especially if they are generous, often wonder who their real friends are, but it is not only people with a lot of money who eventually find out who their real friends are when the well runs dry.  I have heard a lot of people say when they ran out of drugs or booze, they also ran out of ‘friends’.  Reminds me of the account of the prodigal son.  (Luke 15:11-32)

“Many will seek the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.” —Proverbs 19:6

Sometimes people are generous simply because they want to be liked or to gain power. It’s like buying votes. But that works for only so long.

“You can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. After that, you better know something.” —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I like giving gifts, and although my motives are usually to brighten someone’s day or to meet a need, I’m sure I have given a gift or two to open a door or make a good first impression. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, it really comes down to whether the motive is purely selfish and deceptive or whether it seeks the best interest of others as well, which is why we should be discerning when it comes to befriending or endorsing someone simply because they are generous with their time, possessions, and power. Jesus gave a principle when he sent the apostles out and said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. “ (Matthew 10:16)

“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” —English proverb referring to the Trojan Horse


If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

22 responses to “Wisdom Wednesday: The Power of Giving

  • Tienny

    Rene, may I know the etiquette? Thanks

  • Liberty of Thinking

    It’s hard to reconcile the Oriental “normality” of gifts/bribes from within the original context of Proverbs, with their re-interpreted meaning rendered by the “new-testament”. Today they’re called “incentives” and “bonuses”, some of them offers with the same intention as a bribe. And just to clarify, these bribes were actually wages for most of these officials, which received no other payment for their jobs…

    • Rene Yoshi

      True… which makes me think of waiters and waitresses or other service related staff who rely heavily on tips because any wages they receive is minimal. Some customers might even tip them in the beginning as a form of bribing to ensure the best service. Thank you, Moshe, for adding your knowledge and experience to the conversation. 🙂

  • heavenlyraindrops

    Nice post Rene. I have proven Proverbs 21:14 to be true in my life- ‘A gift given in secret subdues anger’
    I have used this wisdom principle when in situations where I either offended someone or when there was an interpersonal clash of unknown reason, by the giving of a private, unanticipated gift. Doing so has a way of softening the tension and has helped open the person’s heart to a receptivity for restoration. The underlying motive is always one of truly caring for the person and desiring a resolution of any wrongs. Each time, God has proven His word true by causing the gift to bring a
    chipping away of some of the hurt or hardened feelings. Hope that makes sense. Blessings Rene

  • Ralph

    Hi Rene 😀 This post has given me a wonderful opportunity to just say thank you. I really appreciated your kindness. Big hugs. Ralph xox ❤ ❤ ❤

  • Scott

    I am reminded of the Greatest Gift: Calvary – A Holy God’s gift offering entre’ into His Presence. So valuable was it that we are told to present that same gift BACK to God in prayer: “in Jesus’ Name”. And God presented that Gift when we still hated Him. And with no strings attached. Incomprehensibly awesome.

  • Sandra Galati

    I know one gift that is genuine in my life and that is the gift of my husband and sons. Rene, I consider your words gifts to me, too. Thank you! I hope you are doing well. … Sandra

  • Unshakable Hope

    Great post, Rene.
    I love giving gifts, but I receive more gifts than I give – family and friends are good to me 🙂

  • g.

    This is a wonderful, insightful post… and I have come to expect no less from my wise friend Sweets. It is true that there are various reasons for giving gifts, and, to me, my favorite reason is a selfish one. When I give someone a gift it makes ME feel good.

    I’m so glad you are continuing Wisdom Wednesdays.

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