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July 3 Today’s Reading: Proverbs 3-7
“Honor the Lord with thy Substance”
To honor the Lord with our substance is to use that which God has given us in his providence for his glory, the benefit of his people, and the cause of his kingdom in this world. Particularly, it is to give a portion of your substance to God again.
Not a Tithe
The Lord does not tell us how much to give. Under the law, a tithe of all was required; but we are not under the law. Therefore, legal precepts have no authority over us. And, certainly, those who know the grace of God in Christ Jesus are not so niggardly as to think they honor God by allotting only a tithe of their income for gifts!
God’s people are not miserly tithers, but generous, cheerful givers. They give as much of their substance as prudence will allow, in proportion as the Lord has prospered them. And they give in faith, for they give of “the firstfruits of all (their) increase.” Week by week, they allot a portion of their income to be given for the honor of God first. Some can give much more than others, because their needs are less and their income more. But all who honor God in their hearts honor God in their substance.
And though we never give for the purpose of gaining more (God’s saints are not mercenaries!), none who honor God with their substance will ever be impoverished by doing so. Solomon says, “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (v. 10). And he who is greater than Solomon said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal shall it be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
Because the Philippians, from their great poverty, gave so generously to one of God’s own, the Apostle Paul assured them that God would supply all their need “according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:14-19). Because they had honored God with their substance, Paul assured them that God would honor them by supplying all that they needed, both to live in this world and to continue honoring God with their substance.
Let every believer give generously of his substance, “as God has prospered him,” for the honor of the Lord our God. As we do, every need will be supplied for every work and every ministry the Lord would have performed in every generation. Every pastor, every missionary, every laborer in God’s vineyard in every part of the world will have all that is needed to do the work trusted to his hands.
How can anyone be expected to obey this precept? How can anyone be expected to “honor the Lord” with their substance, using what God puts in their hands for God’s honor, instead of their own comfort? Such giving, such use of our time, talents, money, and property is inspired and motivated by faith in Christ. There is an obvious reference to Christ in Solomon’s wise admonition. He said, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” The “firstfruits” were offered in faith. — “Abel brought the firstlings of his flock” (Genesis 4:4). All the firstfruits had reference to Christ. — “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Blessed Spirit of God, give me grace and faith day by day, as only you can, to honor God my Savior with all my substance.