“Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.” Prov. 3:9-10
I’ve often enjoyed reading about John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church. His dedication, perseverance, and generosity are to be admired. Pastor Wesley’s sacrificial life has helped me better understand how to honor God, especially in my finances.
John devoted his life to serving and assisting others while riding thousands of miles on horseback and preaching in hundreds of churches. What is not as well known is that he was a very wealthy man having gained considerable funds from the royalties off his books and hymns. At one time he gave away 40,000 pounds sterling of his fortune to promote God’s work and died with only twenty-eight pounds in his estate.
One day John Wesley was away from home and someone came running to him, saying, “Your house has burned down! Your house has burned down!” Wesley replied, “No it hasn’t, because I don’t own a house. The one I have been living in belongs to the Lord, and if it has burned down, that is one less responsibility for me to worry about.” His prospective on material possessions is exactly how God wishes us to few our resources.
Job, King David, King Solomon, and many others in Scripture were considered very wealthy men, yet recognized the importance of being unselfish with their possessions. God’s Word reminds us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth…Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven…Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.
It is good to remember that God gives us the abilities and the resources to obtain wealth. We deserve to support our family, make reasonable plans for the future, make sound investments, have money to carry on a business, and give to support the Lord’s work. But a child of God does not hoard earthly possessions or become selfish with his or her resources.
I’m reminded of a story that illustrates today’s thought. “A farmer happily reported to his wife that their best cow had given birth to twin calves, one brown and one white. The farmer said, ‘I suddenly had an impulse that we must dedicate one of these calves to the Lord. We will sell one and keep the proceeds; the other we will also sell, but give the proceeds to the Lord’s work.’ His wife asked him which one he was going to dedicate to the Lord. He replied, ‘There is no need to bother about that now. We will treat them both the same way, and when the time comes, we will do as I say.’ And off he went. A few months later the farmer entered his kitchen looking unhappy. When his wife asked him what was troubling him, he answered, ‘I have bad news to give you. The Lord’s calf died today.’”
Our Lord wants our single-minded devotion to Him even in our finances. The generous believer experiences the joy of giving, the rewards of a fruitful life, the blessings of encouraging others and the knowledge making sound eternal investments. Let’s remember that wealth comes from God, and we are to manage it wisely for Him.
What are you doing to further God’s Kingdom with your wealth?
What does Matt. 6:21 tell us about our focus related to our wealth?