Thursday, September 28, 2006

Elements of Wisdom - Finances

"Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." (Proverbs 3:9-10)

The Lord has so much to teach us about money especially in the book of Proverbs. Someone has said: You can tell a lot about a man’s spirituality by his pocket book. This is an extremely practical way to determine one’s love for God. I will make what would look like a leap, but not really…ready…Tithing. I believe that this verse teaches us principles of giving and specifically about tithing.

When we tithe, we recognize that every monetary blessing comes from God, and we are simply returning to Him what is rightfully His. Next, God deserves our finest or our ‘firstfruits.’ The word ‘increase’ in this verse can also be translated ‘income’ (Strong). Another truth is that we can and should honor the LORD with our ‘substance’ or ‘part from our wealth or riches’ (Strong). It is really “squanderous” (mine) to not give unto the Lord. On the other hand, what a blessing it is to give unto the Lord. What rejoicing we ought to have, to be able to live with 90% of our income – along with the covenantal promises of God – and give it joyfully to the One who supplies all our needs. I am not a ‘prosperity gospel’ advocate, neither am I a proponent of ‘give to get’ mentality, rather as one man puts it: we give in order to give again. The truth of the matter is that our giving ought to be more than just tithing. As God enables and blesses us with His grace, we should grow in the area of giving as well.

Proverbs has so much to say about treasures, riches, etc. I will simply list some of my favorites – thankfully one does not have to do any deep exegesis to get the point.

Pro 8:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
Pro 8:18 Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
Pro 8:19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
Pro 8:20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
Pro 8:21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

Pro 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Pro 11:4a Riches profit not in the day of wrath:

Pro 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Pro 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Pro 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

Pro 30:8-9 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food covinient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

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