“‘Bring to the storehouse a full tenth of what you earn. . . . Test me in this,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour out all the blessings you need.’” Malachi 3:10 (NCV)
If you give God your time, he multiplies it. If you give him your money or energy, he multiplies those, too. As I’ve mentioned here before, it’s like planting seeds. Farmers know that seeds must be sacrificed by being buried in the ground; they must be given away to do any good.
If you keep a seed in a sack, it does no good, but if you plant it, it multiplies. For example, when you plant just one watermelon seed, you get a bunch of watermelons with hundreds of seeds in them. In the same way, God multiplies whatever you give him.
What’s the key ingredient in this seed planting? Faith.
But we have to understand the difference between faith and bargaining. Bargaining is when you say, “God, help me close this deal and I’ll give you part of it.” God doesn’t work that way. God asks for faith. He wants us to sacrifice in advance, not knowing that we’ll get anything in return; then he wants us to let him figure out how to repay us.
One of the great lessons Kay and I have learned is that you cannot out-give God. Whatever you give God, he multiplies. Three different times in our marriage, God told us to give away our entire savings. Each time we obeyed, and each time, God restored our finances in greater ways than ever before.
I’ll never forget one of our church building campaigns. Kay and I prayed about how much to give, and God told us to give an amount equal to one year’s salary. I didn’t know how we would live for an entire year without a salary, but we obeyed God.
About a month later, we saw God’s plan when a publisher asked me to write a book and offered an advance of $100,000. That book became The Purpose Driven Church.
Jesus makes us this promise in Luke 18:29-30: “Truly I tell you ... no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life” (NIV).
“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58b NIV)
Learn More About a Biblical Approach to Your Budget
Your finances are important to God. Saddleback Resources offers Managing Our Finances God’s Way, a seven-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that will inspire you to live debt-free and/or manage finances in a way that enables you to respond to God’s calling on your life.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.