9 Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the first of all your crops.
10 Then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will burst with wine.
Even as a pastor, I struggle to understand some of the theologies I find represented in the Bible. I frequently chafe against scriptures where there’s an IF…THEN assumption built in. IF we act in this way, THEN God will bless us in that way.
IF…THEN is great for computer programming, where you can count on a set of instructions being carried out the same way EVERY time. But it just doesn’t seem to hold true of life – even life with God.
I find that with this scripture. Farming is inherently a risky business. Honoring God by offering the first fruits (sacrificing the first crops harvested) doesn’t necessarily guarantee wealth, or even success. It can’t prevent, for example, ill-timed storms that might destroy wheat that’s still standing in the field. Sometimes life just is…and there’s no explanation for it. You and I both know that. We’ve lived it.
However, I can say this: honoring God with our gifts is still better than forgetting God and thinking we’ve done it all ourselves. God can pour good things into an open palm much more easily than a closed fist. That’s why I want to be generous. Because I know that when I look back over my life, there are plenty of blessings I can’t account for, either.
Our generosity is no guarantee that God will fill our barns or bank accounts. But I will say this: when we choose to close ourselves off to God, it’s very difficult to experience all the ways God wants to bless us.
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Is there a part of your life where you are living with a closed fist rather than an open hand? How might that be keeping you from experiencing God’s blessing?
Prayer: God, help us to trust you, whether our barns and bank accounts are full or empty. Help us to understand that you call us to generous living, with hearts and hands open to receive the blessings with which we might make a difference for someone else. This we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.