We’ve been looking at these verses in Sunday School:
Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Apparently there’s a connection between whether we tithe (or, at least, give something off the top to God) and financial abundance.
I was raised to tithe regularly, and Kate and I have done so all our lives together, but we haven’t always had full barns, so to speak. I still remember when I was in grad school and we couldn’t afford to get a new light bulb when one burned out, so we just kept moving the working light bulbs from room to room as necessary. We’ve always somehow gotten by, though, and compared to the people in the Old Testament times I suppose anyone in the US is living in luxury.
But God seems to be putting this verse on my heart these days, so I’m trying to understand what to do with it.
Does it mean we need to give more? Of course we could be more generous (which of us couldn’t?), but I’m not aware of any sin on our part as far as that’s concerned, and I don’t think that’s the point God wants me to get from these verses.
Does it mean God is promising to bless us financially in some new way? Certainly, we’ve been more financially strapped than usual recently, due to several unexpected hospital bills and automotive problems. I don’t see anything in these verses to suggest that God is going to provide differently going forward than he has in the past, though. I don’t think he’s promising anything like that.
Rather, I think he wants me to simply become aware of the connection between our giving and his provision — not in pride, nor in guilt, but simply aware. As part of this I’ve started trying something simple. It used to be that, whenever I put our tithe into the offering plate at church, I would say silently to God, “This is for you, as an act of worship”. Yesterday as I placed the tithe into the plate I said silently to God, “This tithe is my prayer to you, that you would take care of us financially.”
I’ve never thought of tithing as a prayer before. It’s sort of cool, whether or not our financial situation changes in any noticeable way.