O (Observation): To honor God is to recognize God’s authority. In this case, honoring God looks like giving from one’s wealth/crops/income.
The wine-making process started with 2 vats: 1 in which to crush the grapes, 1 to catch the juices (which would then be fermented into wine). That lower vat would be not only full…but overflowing!
This picture of abundance is the promise that comes from honoring God with one’s wealth.
A (Application): Sometimes we play this as: If I give to God, I’ll get something in return. This exhortation from Proverbs is not an investment strategy for selfish gain. Certainly not!
However, we believe that when we give to the Lord – when we recognize God’s authority by giving to God – we know that we will not lack for anything we need to do what God is calling us to do.
In 2014, as a congregation, we took the approach of “if we have the money, we’ll designate it towards benevolence (money we send to the churchwide organization – ELCA).” That didn’t work out so well…but our approach has changed.
We continue to bless the Lord through our gifts at Advent Lutheran Church. In 2015, we gave/pledged over $5,000 to Lutheranch, we designated 5% of our offerings towards benevolence to the Southeastern Synod of the ELCA (working our way to 10%), several members have given to relief efforts in Nepal and areas in the U.S.
As a result, we are seeing that our needs are being met. We don’t take it for granted, but our vats have been filling, so that we can respond to God’s calling here in Murfreesboro and beyond.
Is giving of first fruits a breeze for you? If so, what changed your heart and mind?
Is giving a struggle for you? What percentage of your income do you give to church or charity? I’d like to challenge you to up that by 1% for the next 3 months. Then, another 1% for the next 3 months. Keep this up until you reach 10%. You will be amazed at what the Lord does in your life through this pattern.
Ours is a God of Abundance! Believe it!
P (Prayer): Lord, you give us everything we have. Help us to see that you are the Authority, and help us to know YOUR abundance, and not just the abundance from our hands. Amen.