"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
Interesting that this verse should pop up right now since our youthful new pastor is in the midst of a series of sermons entitled "How to be Rich." Note that he isn't talking about how to get rich, but how to be rich. The fact is that almost anyone living here in these United States of America is truly rich by the standards of the rest of the world. We don't like to think of ourselves as being rich, and most of us try to deny the fact, but it is still the truth.
Even those of us who owe more on our houses than they're worth, who struggle to pay our credit card bills each month, who settle for Netflix instead of going out to the theater, still have much, much more than most of the rest of the world. Almost all of us Americans own at least one car, a couple of televisions, a DVD player, a computer or two, a lawnmower, a hairdryer, and a heck of a lot of other things that half the rest of the world would consider extreme luxuries. The fact is that, by definition, anyone who has more than they actually need to live is rich. And so the sermons have been talking about how to "be" rich - how that ought to look in our daily lives.
The pastor's messages have been based on this verse:
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Folks, whether we like it or not, you and I are the ones he is talking about here, the ones who are "rich in this present world."
But for me, the main thing is that first phrase from today's verse, "Honor the Lord with your wealth." If we can get that right, even when we don't feel especially wealthy, all the rest will fall into place - which is what he's saying in the last part of the verse, I think. I do not think that God is promising to increase our wealth if we give generously! No, I think he's just saying that if we use everything we have for him, we will be satisfied.
God, I want to be satisfied with what you have given me and to recognize the fact that I am truly wealthy. I am rich. I don't feel rich, and I don't like saying it, but it is nevertheless true. Help me to never put my faith in my riches, to never be arrogant, but to put my hope in you alone. You're the one who has blessed me with everything I have, and if I struggle to get by, it isn't your fault. I want to honor you with my wealth and to do good with what I have rather than always spending everything I have on myself. I want to recognize the fact that everything I have belongs to you. Thank you, Father, for always, always providing for my needs, and help me to stop complaining when my wants aren't always met. Help me to honor you, Lord. I love you.