Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Blessings Beyond All Understanding (Proverbs 3:9-10)


Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. [Proverbs 3:9-10, ESV]

When I opened my Bible this morning, I went right to Proverbs, and my attention was drawn to this passage. Not only do I know that what is written in Proverbs 3:9-10 is true, I can actually share some examples of its wisdom working powerfully in my life. I love whenever I get to share what God has done in my life, and there is not always the opportunity to do so. Therefore, when such an opportunity arises, I seize it! I pray that this essay blesses all who read it.

Today’s passage is very simple, yet profound. Proverbs 3:9-10 consists of two parts, with verse 9 being the first, and verse 10 being the second. Verse 9 tells us the cause, while verse 10 tells us the effect. If verse 9, then verse 10.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of your produce;

This is the way that we must respond whenever we are blessed. Even if the produce is small, the firstfruits must always go to the Lord. After all, the Bible tells us that all good things come from above. I could never take a gift from my earthly father without thanking him, so why would I deprive my Father in Heaven of the glory that He is due?

We honor God when we keep His commandments, and we must strive to become more like Christ as we mature in our faith. When I first began living according to what the Bible tells us, I remember being really unenthusiastic about tithing. I did not have much money (I still do not have much), and I remember looking at my paychecks and seeing how large of a chunk would go right to my church. Many people distrust the Church with money, but I have never been one of those people. My reason for being so reluctant about my tithing was that I was greedy.

I remember the way my heart changed when I made the decision to rededicate my life to Christ. Having rededicated my life to Christ, whenever I receive a check, I do two things. I thank the Lord for providing me with employment, then I tithe. I thank God because God gives me all that I have. I tithe because God tells us to do so, and because whatever money I have has come from the Lord. Furthermore, when I tithe, I remember all the things that God has done in my life, and I am filled with such gratitude that I am actually excited to part with that first ten percent of my income.

I know that many of the people who read my essays are not Christians, so I want to address something that I hear a lot whenever tithing comes up in a discussion. As a Christian, I encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to tithe. I do not encourage them to do so because I benefit from their tithes, I encourage them to do so because God tells us to tithe. Many people look at pastors and assume that all pastors must be rich. After all, look at all those men and women on television who claim to be preaching the Word of God!

In reality, most pastors do not make much at all. I am a missionary kid, and I grew up in a home with five other people. My father went from being a lawyer to being a missionary, and there was a dramatic drop in my family’s income. People who want to make money should not go into ministry, and those who enter the ministry do not do so in order to get rich.

When you tithe, you are giving back to God, and you are taking care of the people who have dedicated their lives to preaching the Word. When God calls somebody to serve in ministry, that calling is so strong that it cannot be refused. People go into ministry because when God calls you, the idea of doing anything other than serve the Lord becomes completely undesirable. I went from wanting to become a developer to wanting to write and teach others about the Lord. I am still studying to become a developer, but if the door opened today, and I could go serve in ministry, I would walk right on through. People serve in ministry because they have a passion for it.

When I began to ask God for direction in my life, I remember thinking, “Alright, Lord. I have no idea how I will be able to pay for those things, but I trust that You will provide.” I tithed, I spent money on books, I spent a lot of time studying and reading, I spent a lot of time writing, and never stopped trusting in the Lord. I am not some amazing man of faith, I am just a person who knows that God is always faithful. This brings us to the next part of the passage.

then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

When we give God the firstfruits of our labor, He blesses the rest of it. I mentioned how I was unsure as to how I would be able to pay for what God put on my heart, and I mentioned how I trusted that God would provide. Not only has God provided for me, He has given me more than I ever needed. I have more than enough to do what He has called me to do, and I have seen God bless other areas of my life as I have served Him.

Verse 10 does not say that we will have enough in our barns to get us to the next harvest, nor does it say that we will have enough wine to last us for a while. Verse 10 tells us that our barns will be filled, and that our vats will be bursting with wine. We will hardly be able to contain all the blessings that God will give us when we give to Him the firstfruits of our labor.

The Lord never changes, He is always faithful, and He will go above and beyond to bless those who love Him. I have seen God come through in ways that are still hard to comprehend. God is not under the same restrictions that humans are, so when God says that He will do something, that thing will be done. If the situation looks hopeless, if things look like they could never go the way that God said they would go, we should rejoice. The worse things look, the greater God will look when He works miracles. It would be wonderful to see God heal somebody who is suffering from some illness, but how much more wonderful would it be to see God raise that person from the dead? God works according to His divine will, His perfect timing, and His infinite knowledge and wisdom. Trust in the Lord, give to Him the things that He is due, and watch as He blesses you.

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