To call oneself a “Christian” and not desire to freely give generously to God the first-fruits¹ of our labors is for me at least just playing at being a Christian. – Mike
POSB² – It has long been said that worship involves three books: God’s book (the Bible), the hymn book, and the pocketbook. Trusting the Lord with all your heart includes trusting Him with your substance or wealth-your possessions. Fearing the Lord-submissively obeying Him-extends to His commands about finances and material things.
The experience of God’s people through the years is distilled into a pithy proverb by the inspired writer. It shows that God’s people can count on His blessings when we honor Him with our offerings. As with all proverbial wisdom, this is not an ironclad rule without exceptions. It is a principle proved through experience and inspired by God. Stewardship is not an attempt to bribe God and ensure our own wealth. It is a committed response to the God who never forgets the needs of His people. See Lk 6:38.
– God is honored when people give Him their first and their best, what the Bible calls the firstfruits. To give Him what is left over and less than the best does not glorify Him and is not worthy of His great name. The principle of the firstfruits is one of God’s greatest laws. Early in Israel’s history, God commanded them to bring Him the first of all their crops and their livestock and all else with which He had blessed them. They were instructed to dedicate their firstborn children to the Lord as well (Ex.13:11-16; 22:29-30; 23:19; Le.23:9-11; Nu.18:12-13; De.26:1-10). Notice carefully the significance of the firstfruits: (1) It was a token of their gratitude to the Lord for His blessings. (2) It proclaimed their acknowledgement of God as the source of all good things. (3) It represented the rest of the harvest, the fact that all belonged to God. He was the owner of it all. (4) It acknowledged one of the greatest spiritual truths of all: that God had redeemed them from Egypt. All that they had was because of His gracious deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. Even in the New Testament, Paul reminded the church that this is the ultimate reason for giving to God today. We give to Him because He gave His Son for us. We give our best because He gave His best. He has redeemed and delivered us from the bondage of sin. (2 Co.8:9, 2 Co.9:15).
POSB – when we honor God by giving Him the first and best, He will do for us what only He can do. The farmer can plow, sow, water, and weed, but he cannot make the seed grow-only God can produce the harvest (1 Co.3:7). The gardener can dress and prune the vines, but he cannot put grapes on them. He cannot make those grapes juicy-only God can. The order of this process is clear in this passage and throughout Scripture: give to God first, and He will give back to you. Give the first-fruits to God, not what is left after all the bills are paid. “Such giving is the supreme act of faith.” So many, many believers fail to honor God in this way-and thereby miss His abundant blessings-because they do not trust Him to do what He promises to do.
¹ – First-Fruits = Here are two articles about these subjects. While many argue that tithing is mandatory, I tend to disagree and believe that for a true Christian 10% of the income before deductions is just the starting point and we should liberally and cheerfully give beyond that.
² – POSB= Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible: Commentary and Outlines as found Percept Austin