I sat with someone on a park bench this week and listened to their story of financial transformation. They had been struggling for a while, their business was on the edge, and they could not see a way through. But a couple of years ago, they made a decision to start tithing properly and consistently to the local church. Previously their giving was a little ad hoc and inconsistent.
The subsequent transformation for this individual and their business has been astounding. They are almost overrun with offers of contracts, their giving has gone up exponentially, and they feel very much the blessing of God on their business and finances. They give joyfully and thankfully, aware of the massive turnaround of their fortunes. They agree with Rick Warren’s statement that “you cannot outgive God!” That is a fight that you are never going to win.
I have, over the years, heard several stories of a similar ilk. People who have decided to honour God first with their finances and to trust him for his supply. We have certainly experienced similar circumstances in our own life on numerous occasions.
We need, of course, to be careful here. God is not a heavenly slot machine that you can prime with your tithes and offerings. We are not advocating a “prosperity gospel” here. But I think the Bible is absolutely clear that if we honour God in this very important area of our lives – he will bless us. No two ways about it. In this context, I think what Dave said in his sermon on Sunday is absolutely true. He recounted the faithfulness of his own father in this arena. The blessing that came back to him was not overtly financial – he never became rich or wealthy. But he was greatly blessed of God, was rich towards him, and left behind a rich legacy of faith to his children and grandchildren.
“The blessing of the Lord makes rich – and he adds no sorrow to it!”
Rick Warren gave some very practical and helpful advice in the small group teaching this week, which I think we can all learn from, as we think about and reassess how we handle our financial resources.