9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.Proverbs 3:9-10
As we dive into the scriptures regarding finances and wealth, one thing we will see clearly is that the bible has a lot to say about it. Specifically, the dangers of it.
We will discuss at another time about the dangers of it, but to continue building our foundation from my previous post, we see here how everything we own is Gods. Everything.
While this is a passage that is directed to Gods people, there is much to be learned by everyone.
We have to remember six things when we read this:
1. Everything is God’s.
All that you have has been given to you by God. Nothing you have is because you’re as amazing as your wealth makes you think that you are.
God created you. He created the heavens and the earth. Psalm 24:1 tells us that the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. We all belong to God. He holds us together.
Because of that, we have to humble ourselves to realize that we as the clay can’t tell the potter what to do. We should pray and ask God to do certain things but we have to remember our place.
When we run a business and grow frustrated that we are mistreated as leadership, we learn a lot about the grace and patience of God.
Everything is the Lord’s.
2. Giving reminds us what we tend to forget.
The word “remember” is seen throughout the scriptures. The reason is because we all tend to forget about the goodness of God. Satan wants us to forget about his goodness and his wonderful deeds.
We give to remind us that all we have isn’t ours. It’s a tangible way to remember everyday that he is the Lord, not us. And definitely not our money.
3. We give because he’s given much more.
I’ll write more on giving but our giving is essentially because he’s given much more. Our God has traits and characteristics that we(as image bearers) also have. For instance, he’s a creator. When we see someone create something that is beautiful and amazing, it’s a trait of their heavenly father who is an amazing creator.
In the same way, we are called to be givers because he is a giver. His ultimate gift was giving his one and only son to die for OUR sins. He gave up his most precious gift for us. In the same way, our giving shows our desire to to be led by him. He gives to us every second of every day. We ought to be giving freely like he does.
4. We have always been called to sacrificially give in some sort of way. Key word being sacrifice.
In the old testament, to pay for the sins that people committed, they had to take an animal and sacrifice it on the alter. The animal had worth and value in their society. It represented a monetary value. By sacrificing it, people were showing that they were willing to follow God. As well, the sacrifices, the shedding of blood was to pay for sins.
Our giving is to be sacrificial. While giving 10% is a recommendation and a good place to start from scripture, in the new testament, our giving is laid out as being sacrificial. That sacrificial STARTS at giving 10%. This can be through giving to your local church body that you are involved in. As well, it can be through other ministries that are doing the kingdom work of God.
5. Your giving also measures your faith that he’ll take care of you.
God will take care of you.
Many people will take the last part of this verse that “your barns will be filled and your vats overflowing” and they run with that to justify beliefs like what is called the “prosperity gospel”. That is the belief that if you are following God and are faithful then you’ll become healthy and wealthy. We know that’s untrue because Jesus himself became homeless. His disciples struggled. Paul was shipwrecked.
Others though can run to another extreme with the poverty gospel and say that God is only with the poor and that you can’t be wealthy and Godly. This as well is seen as foolish as the bible doesn’t demonize wealthy people. But it gives strong warnings about the dangers of wealth.
God does take care of his people. And when you give to him, and show yourself to be a great steward of a little, don’t be surprised when he gives you more. Be careful of extreme views that are contrary to scripture.
6. Why the firstfruits?
Don’t give God crap! I know that sounds harsh but for real, we are called to give our first fruits. The firstfruits are what we know we’ll have. That’s the beginning of the crops.
How many times we try to give God left overs. We give God the rejected crops. The stuff no one can eat.
By being in the habit of giving God the best, we shouldn’t be surprised that he blesses us throughout time.
This is an excellent scripture to keep us grounded as we learn about wealth.