The fifth of the five couplets of Proverbs 3 is verses 9-10: if you honor the Lord with your wealth, your barns will be filled with plenty.

How does one honor the Lord with is or her wealth? The intention of the text itself, in the original context, is likely the paying of the tithe—turning over a portion of one’s wealth and produce to the temple officials. You should understand that tithing is an Old Testament teaching that does not carry over to the New Testament. In a nutshell, The OT teaches giving a tenth (or even up to 40% in some cases!), but the NT teaches that EVERYTHING belongs to God and everything is to be given to Him. (Remember I said in answer to an earlier question how radical Christianity is, and there is nothing about it that fits into the category of “comfort zone.”) The NT teaches about “Give cheerfully from the heart” and “giving according to one’s faith.” Nothing in the NT about giving fits into the category of rules or guidelines or laws or legalism.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, “Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness, God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on his accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God.” (Cost of Discipleship, p. 94)

The Bible asks three main questions about money:
1. How did you get it? (legally and justly, or exploitatively?)
2. What are you doing with it? (indulging in luxuries or helping the needy?)
3. What is it doing to you?

If you honor God with your wealth, this couplet teaches, then your barns will be overflowing and your vats will brim with new wine. Woo-hoo! The principle here, and again it’s a proverb, not a promise, is that if you live in such a way that where your heart is (God), that’s where your treasure is (money), and that if you seek first the kingdom of God, trusting that “all these things will be added to you,” then God will bless you, and you will find that God will meet all of your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. That doesn’t mean you’ll be wealthy, or even necessarily that you will have all the money you need to pay your bills. It’s a proverb: if you honor God, He will bless you. It’s a lot like the other couplets, but this time money is the illustration.

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