Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase (Pr.
In a dream, you see yourself seated at an immense banquet table in what seems to be the
biggest, most beautifully decorated banquet hall you have ever seen. The table you are
seated at seems to go on forever. It is large and round, and seems to have thousands of
people seated at it, many of whom you can barely make out as people at all. In fact, if
not for their movement, you are certain they would blend into the background. You then
notice someone seated at the place of honor--it is God Himself. You can hardly believe it
and you can hardly wait to see what will happen next.
One by one people begin to stand and make their way to the podium to speak. Each one tells
of what God has done in their lives, the wonderful lessons taught, life saving and life
changing events. There are heartfelt words about God's grace, and tearful words about His
mercy. One by one, each tells the rest what God meant to him or her personally. Then you
notice that it's your turn. You stand. You make your way to the podium...
What do you do? What do you say? How long will your time of honoring be--or how short?
Does a warm smile come to your face as your heart melts in joy to tell of God's love for
you and the wonderful times you have spent together? Or do you grow anxious--worried how
your story will compare to the rest?
What does it mean to honor God? Proverbs 3:9 tells us to "Honor the Lord with thy
substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase." In other scripture, we
are instructed that honor goes far beyond righteous acts, it is a matter of honoring God
in our hearts as well (Isa.29:13; Ps.78:36; Mk.7:6-7). The Bible does not focus merely on
tithes, offerings and righteous acts, it focuses more on the condition of the heart when
we are doing those things--and when we are not doing them.
Honoring God with your "substance" (or wealth in other translations), is not
referring merely to income. If we limit ourselves to this we are certainly defining who we
are within narrow margins. Your substance is defined by everything you are and all you
have to offer. I'm sure you agree that you have a lot more to offer than money. In fact,
if someone were to limit what you have to offer as only having to do with money, you would
more than likely be offended.
So why is it that when we hear words like, "Honor the Lord with thy substance,"
that the main thing that comes to mind is money? Perhaps God should be offended. After
all, He made you to be, and to have the potential to be, far more than a walking bank
account. You--aside from your net worth--are important to God. Who you are as a person is
what is most important to Him. And the best way you can honor Him is by honoring Him in
who you are.
As you allow Him to shape your life so that you can honor Him in it, honoring Him with
money and righteous acts will be a byproduct, not the main product.
For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased
with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite
heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise (Ps. 51:16-17).