Today’s post scares me. I’ve been mulling this over for two days and I keep trying to pick out a different set of verses to share from Proverbs 3 but this one isn’t letting me go. Hopefully that means it’s meant just for one of you so let’s get to it, shall we?
v9-10 Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
your wine vats will brim over.
Once again there is an If-then scenario here. Proverbs tells you the wise thing and then you get something in return. Being wise is…very wise!
So what’s the if—the wise thing we ought to do?
Let’s break it down to two parts.
1. Honor God with Everything You Own
The translation of “everything you own” means “wealth, riches or substance”. So the obvious wise thing to do is honor God with the money you have, but that “substance” definition is also taken to mean your stuff. Proverbs doesn’t provide a lengthy explanation of how to do that but given other verses I think these things are a good start:
- Using our money to provide for our family
- Giving our money to the poor where needed
- Using our home in hospitality
- Lending possessions as requested
- Giving possessions as needed
I read an article today at DesiringGod.org, that suggested hospitality is essential to the completion of the Great Commission. I think this is a key to making a difference in our circles of influence. What is more honoring to God than fulfilling the Great Commission?
There are a million ways to tackle the others listed. One thing I’ve taken to is just giving to whatever is in front of me. If I see a person on the side of the road and have money, give to them. If I run into a blog post asking for $5, give to them. If I know a family member can’t pay a bill, give to them.
I’ve seen others suggest committing to just one charitable cause and going full steam into that to see what kind of difference you can make.
I really don’t think you can go wrong when your intent is to honor God with what you have.
2. Give God Your First and Best
The NIV says to give the “firstfruits of all thine increase”. Firstfruits means your first and best and your increase is your crops or revenue. So the second part of this is to give God your first and best of your income.
God gave us his first and best in his son Christ and we ought to give him our first and best. This Scripture was referring to a tithe. In the Old Testament, tithing was part of the law.
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Exodus 23:19
They gave back to remember what God had provided. I love this verse in Deuteronomy:
But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. Deut 8:18
Since we are no longer under the law, some might quickly dismiss tithing but I think like many laws, you’ll find the New Testament even more challenging. The New Testament church in Acts gave much more than the required 10%. Giving and sharing was a way of life. People were selling their property just to take care of someone else. That is what giving your best looks like.
Jesus didn’t condemn anyone for tithing (only showing off about it) and really, really liked it when a poor widow gave 100% of what she had with a good attitude.
“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:3-4
If giving 100% with a good attitude makes Jesus happy, well, then, we have a lot of work to do. I’ll let that stomp on your toes for a little while. The point is the religious leaders he condemned were not giving their first and best—they were giving out of what was left over–and Jesus was not satisfied.
The good news and hope is it says if we are wise in this way, “Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over”. I’m no prosperity preacher but there’s a promise in there no one can refute. Even Luke 6:38 it mirrors this idea:
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
When you honor God with all you have and all you get, He provides richly.
Whether it be by worldly wealth or a spiritual blessing, does it matter? If he does bless you with worldly riches, the cool thing is if you are honoring God with all you have and all you get, that just means you get to honor God more with all you have and all you get. There should be lots of giving and lending and sharing in there and not hoarding.
Whew. OK. I think we managed to get through just 2 verses of Proverbs 3. Again, there is so much in Proverbs, take some time to read the rest and then decide how to put your new wisdom into practice.
Tomorrow we tackle Proverbs 4!