I posed that question this past Sunday in my small group. I wasn’t talking about food, but rather I was referring to our money. We looked at Proverbs 3:9-10, which says
“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.” (ESV)
First, I showed that this was an act of worship: “HONOR the LORD…” It should follow, then, that not to give of our wealth and firstfruits dishonors the LORD. As children of the Most High, we want to honor Him in all of life, so this proverb must be understood, because we want His glory to shine brightly, even in our wallets.
Second, this was an act of thanks. Deuteronomy 26:1-11, the background to this proverb, explains this point. When Israel entered the promised land of Canaan, the first harvest that they received was to be given as an offering to God. They were to go to the priest and declare that God had redeemed them from Egyptian slavery and brought them into a bountiful land. Because of that, they were to give the first of the harvest that the LORD gave to them. And they were to do so with joy.
Israel gave the first of their wealth as a way to show God how thankful they were for His great work of redemption in the exodus. He demonstrated that He was their God and they were His people. They were to respond by gladly giving the first of their harvest to Him.
The third reason is implied. This was an act of faith. For who knew what would come up after the first harvest? What if the first harvest was the best harvest? What if the first harvest was the only harvest? They had to trust that the LORD would provide for their needs if they honored Him first.
I think that is why the promise is so awesome in Prov. 3:10: “Then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vasts will be bursting with wine.” In other words, if you honor God first, He will make sure that your needs are met. We can never use tight living arrangements as an excuse not to give. God will take care of us. We must trust His promises to take care of His own.
So what does this mean for our non-agricultural society? Well, it means that we must honor God first with our income. Don’t give God the leftovers of your income. Give Him the first. Show people that you serve a God who has redeemed you from sin, called you unto Himself, and has promised to meet your needs and, even more, has promised an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you. Worship God by putting Him first with your income. Thank God by putting Him first with your income. Trust God by putting Him first with your income.