Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 117

From Handbook to God’s Promises 


A Godly Dozen
(Proverbs 11:24–25)

A “baker’s dozen” is thirteen instead of twelve, a concept originating sometime during the Middle Ages. But why would a baker have given an additional roll, bun, or loaf to the customer purchasing “a dozen”? Giving the baker credit for integrity (or for enough foresight to stay out of jail), the best explanation seems to be as insurance against the baked goods being too light in weight. Perhaps a batch of flour had too much air in the dough, meaning that the shopper would be buying more air and less bread. Including an extra roll was the baker’s way of saying, “I want you to get all—and hopefully more—than you paid for.”

God is like the best of the bakers. In the New Testament, Jesus said that when God gives to us He takes extra measures to make sure that we get all we have coming to us. First, He starts with a good measure. Then He presses it down, shakes it together to remove the air, and keeps pouring until it runs over (Luke 6:38). Based on these safeguards, a godly dozen makes a baker’s dozen look skimpy by comparison.

Jesus’ point is that our God is a generous God. When He created Adam and Eve, God put them in a garden that was overflowing with abundant fruit. In doing so, He revealed His character to them. He wanted them to be generous just as He was (and is). But more than Adam and Eve needed a lesson in generosity, we do today. What we need to discover is that God gives generously to us so that we may in turn show generosity to others.

That’s where these brief proverbs come in. Solomon explained in these passages that the generous attitude will be rewarded—perhaps financially, but definitely by winning the respect of others and the approval of God (see also Prov. 22:9; 2 Cor. 9:6).

Perhaps Jesus had these or similar proverbs in mind when He said, “by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38). As always, God gives first to show us how it’s done. He reveals who He is so that we might see who we are by comparison—and continue to increase the size of the scoop we use in giving to others.

God’s Promise:
He uses your definition of generosity in His giving to you.