God promises to guide and bless those who wholeheartedly trust in Him, depend on Him, and commit everything they have and do to Him (Proverbs 3:5–6; Psalm 37:5). One of the more challenging tests of our trust in the Lord is how we handle our money (see Matthew 19:23–24). Scripture commands, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine” (Proverbs 3:9–10, NLT).
In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to give the first and the best portion of every harvest to Him as an offering of worship (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Leviticus 23:10; Deuteronomy 26:1–3, 9–11). In this way, the Israelites honored the Lord with their wealth. They were to take the cream of the crop right off the top and give it to God. In the original Hebrew, the word translated as “honor” in Proverbs 3:9 means “to bestow rewards upon; weigh heavily upon.” Honoring God means showing Him the proper weight and value of His worth. We offer the Lord the first of our income because He is first and foremost in our lives. We give Him the best of our earnings because He is the most valuable treasure in our lives.
The psalmist cautions, “If your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life” (Psalm 62:10, NLT). We honor the Lord with our wealth by not allowing the accumulation of money to become the main ambition of our life. We use money not for selfish, materialistic purposes but to prove that God is first in our hearts and lives. Jesus taught His disciples, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. . . . You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (Matthew 6:20–21, 24, NLT).
The command for Israel to honor the Lord with one’s wealth came with the promise of overflowing reward for obedience (Deuteronomy 28:8). The prophet declared, “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!’” (Malachi 3:10, NLT).
Similarly, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38, NLT). The apostle Paul assured those who gave generously to the Lord’s purposes that they would have their necessities taken care of: “This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NLT).
Even though God promises to bless our generosity, we don’t give to get. Instead, we honor the Lord with our wealth by being satisfied with what we have: “True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6–10, NLT; see also Ecclesiastes 5:10; Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:5; Hebrews 13:5).
We honor the Lord with our wealth when we recognize that all financial provision and blessing come from God (Deuteronomy 8:17–18; 1 Samuel 2:7; 1 Chronicles 29:12; Proverbs 8:18–21; Ecclesiastes 5:19) and all we have belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1–2; 50:12; Job 41:11; Haggai 2:8). Paul told Timothy, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life” (1 Timothy 6:17–19, NLT). We reveal the weight of God’s worth to us by receiving all riches humbly and thankfully and using them for the good and glory of God’s kingdom (Proverbs 11:28; Luke 8:1–3; 2 Corinthians 9:10–11; Colossians 3:17; 1 Timothy 4:4–5; 1 John 3:17; James 1:10–11).