I’m sitting outside on a sunny, cool Pennsylvania Saturday morning, the Rudy soundtrack and welcome-home birds filling the crisp air, reading Proverbs 9 when a breeze blew my page back to Proverbs 3. The subtitle of that chapter is “Wisdom Bestows Well-Being”. What a great chapter, with the famous verses 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” I love that promise. I try to make those kind of passages my prayers. “Lord, may I trust You with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding, may I submit to You in all my ways, believing that You will make my paths straight! I can bank on that.”
Verse 7 also has a promise. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” When we harbor sin in our lives, refusing to address it, ignoring the Spirit that lovingly, yet insistently, calls out to our spirit for holiness, it can physically affect us! It’s not a punishment (that was taken care of at the cross!) but it’s a byproduct, a side effect, a consequence! Few people deny the effect the mind can hold over the body (We see something gross and it can turn our stomachs!) It is the same when we know we are not living as we are called to and we try to carry that weight ourselves. Bank on it.
The third promise I read is in the next verse. “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing; and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Giving to God, of our time, our talents and our treasure makes sense! (Randy Alcorn has written multiple books on this subject.) Pastors may be hesitant to talk about tithing because it could come across as their desiring selfish gain, but not only is giving to God of our wealth (the firstfruits of our wealth) beneficial to the furthering of God’s Kingdom here on earth, but it’s in our own best interest! I have no intention to preach a prosperity gospel here! God forgive me if I am. But I do believe that God will provide our needs just as Jesus promises in Luke 12:27 when He reminds us God clothes the flowers of the field with more splendor than Solomon ever displayed, so how much more will He clothe us, His children?
Give freely to God’s work, give generously, give joyously! Honor the Lord with the firstfruits of your wealth and bank on the promise attached.