I can remember as a child going to church with a dime to put in the offering envelope in Sunday school. My parents taught me the principle of tithing from my youth. I had my first job when I was twelve, helping my dad and my brother clean a self-service car wash in Collierville. I was paid $25 every two weeks, and I faithfully deposited $2.50 into the offering at church after each payday.
I was taught to tithe as an act of obedience and as an act of worship. Somewhere along the way, I became fearful that if I didn’t tithe, God would withdraw his blessings from me. I continued to tithe faithfully, but it was no longer an act of worship. It wasn’t really even an act of obedience. It was an act of fear.
When I was in my twenties, I had the privilege of sitting under the teaching of Charles Stanley every Sunday. Through his teaching, I learned a great deal about God’s grace. I continued to tithe, but it was no longer out of fear. I did it because I wanted to honor God with the firstfruits of my labor.
I’m thankful that God has provided abundantly for me. One could assume that God has rewarded me for tithing all these years. But I know of people who have tithed consistently and have not received great financial blessings from God … at least not from my perspective. So I don’t think one should draw the conclusion that tithing, or giving of your firstfruits, is going to result in great financial prosperity.
Last week as I was contemplating Proverbs 3:5-6, I was also drawn to verse 9, which says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” (ESV) Many have made it a practice to honor the Lord with their firstfruits. But what about the first part of that verse, “Honor the Lord with your wealth”? Are we going beyond our tithing, and honoring God with our wealth? This doesn’t necessarily mean to put more in the offering plate. It means to use your wealth, your abundance beyond your firstfruits, to honor God. If we will do this, God promises, in verse 10, that our “barns will be filled with plenty,” and our “vats will be bursting with wine.” If we will honor God with all we have, He will bless us abundantly. And we can honor Him even more!
Honor the Lord with your wealth!