I have heard it said that if you want to know where a person’s heart is, just look at his checkbook. Where we invest our money reveals where we invest our hearts. God says we should invest our hearts and everything else we possess to Him. (Matthew 22:37; Proverbs 3:9-10) Why? Because when you give to God, your investments are secure and will yield a good return. In this modern world, investments are not always secure. They can sometimes be pretty risky, and sometimes you can lose your entire investment.
I know a lady who moved back in with her mother when she was in her twenties. Her mother required her to pay rent every month. What the daughter did not know was that the entire time, her mother was saving all the rent money.
When the daughter got back on her feet and moved out into her own place, the mother gave all the rent money back to her. This is the financial plan that God has designed for us. We give to Him, and He keeps that in safekeeping so that when we need it, He makes sure that we have it.
I believe it was the year of 2004 that I earned the most annual income that I have ever earned in my entire life. It was also the same year that I gave the most to God. I don’t believe it is a coincidence. I believe with all my heart that when you give to God, He gives back to you and then some.
1. How we should give to God.
We should give the firstfruits and not the leftovers. No one wants to be given a gift that is merely someone’s leftovers. Why should we think that this would make God happy? In Bible days, the firstfruits were the first of yield of their crops or the best of their livestock. Before they took any of the crops for their own purposes, they were to take the first fruits for God.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the firstfruits of all your increase, so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” (Proverbs 3:9-10)
And look what the result is of doing this? “That your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
Showing God that He is first in your life yields many blessings. God doesn’t need your crops, He doesn’t need your livestock, and He doesn’t need your paycheck. What God desires is your obedience and your love for Him, and when you demonstrate this love to Him, He blesses you abundantly.
In our modern day times, your firstfruits would be taking God’s portion off the top of your paycheck instead of what is left of it. Before you ever receive your paycheck, you most often know the approximate amount that you are earning, so before you plan to spend any of that money on your bills, your needs and desires, first you decide how much you should give to God off the top of it. Afterward, God will see to it that you have enough money for all that you need and more.
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:7-9)
2. Purposes of giving to God.
Contributions or tithes given to God provide for the maintenance of a building where Christians can meet and worship God together. These contributions also finance the ministry work of the church, to make it possible for preachers and teachers to do the work of God in spreading the gospel. What’s more, contributions to God also provide benevolence and assistance for the community and those in need. (Acts 2:44-47)
Our tithes and offerings give God the opportunity to prove His faithfulness. In the Book of Malachi, God is unhappy with how His people because they are not giving to Him properly. Instead of offering their firstfruits, they were offering their rejects, the weak and lame livestock. God challenged the people to prove His faithfulness saying:
“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10)
When we give God our best, we give Him the opportunity to prove to us what He has promised: that He will bless us so much that we will not be able to contain it all.
3. Blessings of giving to God.
God promises to bless our giving to Him, and we can see these promises in Malachi 3:10-12
“…open for you the windows of heaven..” God will rain down blessings upon you.
“…and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.” God will give you more than you can handle at one time.
“I will rebuke the devourer.” The devourer represented insects, weather, and any other thing that devoured people’s crops, livestock and livelihood. God will protect you and your family as well as your sources of income and means of making a living.
“All nations will call you blessed.” God will bless you so that others can see God working in your life. God will use you as a witness to others to show His goodness and love, to show that He is faithful in His promises.
4. Consequences of not giving to God.
When we fail to give to God properly or don’t give at all, we rob Him.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” (Malachi 3:8-9)
We rob God of the opportunity to reveal His love, goodness, and graciousness. We rob Him of honor and glory. When we rob God, we rob ourselves of the many blessings He has prepared for us. (I Corinthians 2:9)
People fail to give to God for various reasons. Sometimes it is due to ingratitude or disregard for God. Much of the time, it is out of a lack of faith and fear. People may feel the need to hang on to what they have, thinking they will need it, when the truth is that it is God who gave it to them in the first place. When we don’t have the faith to give to Him, we miss out on the blessings He has prepared for us, but we also miss out on seeing God’s amazing love and power.
When you give to God, you experience prosperity. The opposite is also true. When you fail to give to God, you experience shortage and need. I know this from my own personal life. There was a time in my life when I gave abundantly to God, and that year I earned more than I ever had. I have also had years where I was fearful of giving much to God and those were also the lean years of my life. When you cheat God, you only cheat yourself.
You miss out on being a good witness for God. You can’t show others the amazing power of God if you don’t give God the chance show you His power.
“Eye has not seen, nor heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (I Corinthians 2:9)