“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing” (Psalm 37:25-26, ESV).
Psalm 37 is one of my favorite Psalms because it has so many memorable sayings:
- “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (vs. 4).
- “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act” (vs. 5).
- “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (vs. 7).
- “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way” (vs 23).
- “I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsake or his children begging for bread” (vs 25).
But one of the most interesting sayings in this Psalm is the declaration in vs. 26 that a righteous person is always “lending generously.”
We all know you should be generous in your giving, but being generous in your lending takes being generous to a whole different level!
“Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in my house. ‘Test Me in this way,’ says the Lord of Hosts. See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out a blessing for you without measure” (Malachi 3:10, HCSB).
The prophet Malachi accuses the people of Israel of robbing God (vs. 8) because they did not pay their tithes. The tithes were used to support the priests and Levites, whose ministry was essential if Israel was to be faithful to God in its calling as His chosen people. Because their land was cursed by drought and pestilence (vs. 9,11), they felt justified not giving their tithes.
“Now who will volunteer to consecrate himself to the Lord today? Then the leaders of the households, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly…Then the people rejoiced because of their leaders’ willingness to give, for they had given to the Lord with a whole heart. King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:5-6,9, HCSB).
In preparation for building the temple, King David accumulated precious metals and stones and wood for its construction. In addition to all the materials he accumulated as King, he gave a substantial amount of gold and silver from his personal wealth.
Then he asked the leaders of Israel what they would give! And what’s interesting is the way King David asked them to give.
“Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine…Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding, for she is more profitable than silver, and her revenue is better than gold…Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:9-10,13-14,16, HCSB).
Contained in the sagacious advice of Proverbs 3 are two keys for success.
The first key for success concerns how you handle your finances. Before you spend any of your income, first give to God. If you don’t know how much to give, then a tithe or 10% is a good starting place.
“But the people continued to bring additional gifts each morning. Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work. They went to Moses and reported: The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do! So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough! So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings. Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.”
Suppose you went to church one Sunday morning and when it came to the end of the service the pastor announced no offering would be received because people had given so much the church had more than enough money!
“All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments…So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord” (Exodus 35:21,29, NLT).
What if they took up an offering for a new church building and all the church members were so enthusiastic about doing God’s work that everyone in the church contributed financially to the project?
And, what if they gave enough in one offering to construct and furnish the new church building?
“Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.” In preparation for building the temple, King David accumulated precious metals and stones and wood for its construction. In addition to all the materials he accumulated as King, he gave a substantial amount of gold and silver from his personal wealth. Then he asked the leaders of Israel what they would give. They also gave a substantial amount of precious metal and stones from their personal wealth to help pay the costs of the temple construction. After these gifts were given the Israelites were joyful because everyone had willingly given without being commanded. They gave freely to the Lord and the result was that it made them happy! David acknowledged that what they gave was only what God had given them in the first place: “For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you” (vs. 14). Giving to God is not a burden but an expression of our worship of Him. When done willingly and freely with a whole heart, giving makes you happy! But always remember that when you give to God you are really just giving back to God what He has blessed you with in the first place.