Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life
Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. Today’s words from Solomon, the richest man that ever lived, is about our wealth. Who better to learn from?Let’s top up our coffees and see what he has to say…
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Doesn’t today’s words sound like an oxymoron? Give your wealth and first fruits away, and you will be overflowing with greater wealth. Well, that certainly is not how the world works. You give your stuff away and you don’t have anything. Yet, that is not how God works.
In this passage, like last week, it comes down to trust and your personal relationship with the Lord. It is basically saying, “As you trust that all you have are blessings from the Lord, give the best of what you have back to him first as a thank offering. Such trusting actions honour our Lord -yes, but he, in return, will continue to bless you to overflowing.
I have experienced this recently. In our school board, our adult education courses for high school credits are independent study, which means that the learners work on their lessons at home and then hand in their completed lessons. The lessons then go to qualified high school teachers for marking. I am a marker of such courses. Well I had about ten courses I marked but six of them were great for getting your foot in the door as a marker but not nearly my favourite, nor did they have a lot of people taking them.
Well, those particular six courses were not my favourite but I hung on to them because I coveted, yes coveted, losing the income from marking the lessons. I had put up with these courses, for a few years now, and pretty much rolled my eyes every time I got a lesson from one of them. So… why was I keeping them, you ask? Greed: I wanted the income from them. However, I saw instructors desperately trying to get their foot in the door to mark, who would appreciate these courses, and who would be thankful for the income they generated. After much time and prayer, I was moved to offer them to another instructor who had been hoping, and probably praying also, for the opportunity to get her foot in the marking world. Not only was I thrilled that she was overjoyed and thankful, appreciative and undoubtedly will do right by those courses, God blessed me in the process too. The week after I handed the courses and their materials over to my colleague, I received so many lessons in my remaining courses that I felt like Peter in his boat with his nets overflowing with fish. It was like God was saying, “Thank you! You need not fear. Even though you have less, I will sustain you with what you have.”
Although we can, and should, relate our thoughts of giving of our wealth back to the church in our offering, I believe it is also in our everyday life that God calls us to give of our first fruits as well, especially when we see others in need. Whenever we let go of our own ‘wealth’ and prayerfully give it to others, that we are doing those “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” (Ephesians 2:10b) and by doing so, we honour God and are the instrument through whom the Holy Spirit is working to bless and answer prayers made by others.
So, may I encourage you to earnestly pray to have the courage and trust to give back to the Lord your first fruits, not left overs, in your church offering and in any other area of life where you may be feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit to give something away. In fact I challenge you to prayerfully take up the task to try to ‘out give’ the Lord. His blessings in return will always be greater than what you could ever give. Try it. I dare you.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, your blessings are new every morning, yet I so selfishly cling to every little thing as if it is mine and I earned it. I fear the unknowns and of not having enough if I give things away, even when it is for the good of your church. Please forgive me. Give me the wisdom to give back to you through the church and others that which you desire from me and grant me the courage to do so. I desire to honour you and to be a blessing to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!