9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT)
The above passage is about honoring God. Proverbs 3:9 tells us that the Lord wants us to honor him with our wealth and the best part of everything we produce. When we obey, the next verse tells us the result of our obedience. The Lord will fill our barns with grain and our vats will overflow with good wine. What can we learn from this? We shall look deeper into the above verses.
The first part of Proverbs 3:9 tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth. It assumes that we have wealth. If you look into the entire context, the “wealth” here refers to physical wealth. Physical wealth is the type of wealth that can be bought and sold with money. We can also call it “money” or “asset”. This tells us that God wants us rich. There are religious people who persecute, slander and spread lies on Christians who are rich as though being rich is something to be ashamed of. However, Proverbs 3:9 says otherwise. In God’s view, having wealth is so honorable that he wants us to honor him with our wealth. If having wealth is sinful, then Proverbs 3:9 should not have been written in the first place.
Honoring the Lord with our wealth is only half of the message is Proverbs 3:9. In the second half, we are also told to honor him with the best part with everything we produce. This means God takes honor when we achieve the best in the things we do. Please note that I did not say doing your best. I said achieving the best. What is the difference? When people say they will do the best, they are basically saying that they will work up to the limit of their ability and circumstances. So, if you are pay a plumber to “do his best” to fix your toilet, your toilet may not be fixed and you still have to pay because he has fulfill his promise in doing his best.
When the Lord wants us to achieve the best, he wants the results of our works to exceed the limitations of our natural ability and circumstances. He wants us to honor him with the best part of everything we produce. This also means that he takes personal interest in everything we do. In other words, he wants us to achieve the best and honor him with the best.
Next, how do we honor God with our wealth and the best in everything we produce? We honor God by using our wealth and ability to do his will on earth. Here are some examples.
The recent hike in food prices has caused sufferings to millions of poor people across the world. The will of God for these people is to provide for them and ease their sufferings. So, when we give part of our wealth to provide food to the poor, we are effectively doing the will of God. This is an example of honoring God.
Let us go to the “best part of everything you produce”. What are you good in? If you are a teacher, honoring God with the “best part of everything you produce” means going an extra mile in helping your students to be successful even if it is beyond your job scope. Just because you specialize in teaching mathematics does not mean that you must talk about maths all the time with your students. You can teach about self-motivation, developing a no-quit mentality and the strife for excellence. These may not be part of the official subjects under your portfolio and you may not be paid extra for it but you are doing it to honor God because you know God wants your students to live successful lives.
Proverbs 3:10 tells the consequences of honoring the Lord with our wealth and with the best part of everything we produce. The Lord will fill our barns with grain, and our vats will overflow with good wine. There are two parts to our rewards here: grain and good wine.
Let us start with grain. God promised to fill our barns with grain. Grains represent our necessity. It is a staple diet for the people there. Its equivalent in my country is rice. In other words, God promised to provide us with the wealth to meet our needs in life. How much will he provide? Will he just give just enough like the manna in the book of Exodus? The answer is, he will fill our barns with grain. This means he will give us as much as our barns can store. The amount of grain we will receive from God is dependent on the size of our barns. The bigger our barns are, the more grains we will have. This is exceeding prosperity.
The only limit to our prosperity is not God but the size of our barns. The “barn” here represents our mentality. Is your mentality based on abundance or scarcity? It will affect the amount of prosperity you can receive from God. God will never give you more grains than what your barn can store. Otherwise, the grains will be wasted. God wants us to build bigger barns. This means we need to expand our mentality of abundance. Learn to think big. Small minds cannot handle huge wealth. If you have a small mind and have great wealth, you will be crushed by it. So, if you are really interested in receiving abundant prosperity, start expanding your mind. Read the Bible, pray and listen to faith messages. In doing so, the size of your barn will grow.
Why does God want to fill our barns instead of giving us just enough? The main reason he gives us more than enough is because he wants us to continue to use our wealth to honor him. When we have more grains than we need to keep our families alive, we are in position to help others. We will be able to honor God with our wealth to help the poor and bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. When we do that, God will respond by filling up our barns with grain and overflow our vats with good wine again. This virtuous cycle will never end.
The second part of our reward is for our vats to be overflow with good wine. While grain is a necessity in life, wine is a luxury. After all, not one will die from the lack of wine. Wine represents luxury. This tells us that God is not ashamed of us living in luxuries. He even provides them for his people. Religious people may be ashamed with it but not God.
When we honor God with our wealth and the best part of our produce, God will not only provide us with our need in proportion to our barns but he will also give us an unending flow of luxuries in our lives. The ides of our vats overflowing means our supply of wine will never stop. This is the prosperity from God. It is continuous and will never stop flowing. It covers luxuries as well. Our vats will be overflowed with good wine. What does good wine means? I am not a wine expert. The only way I can tell them apart is to look at the price tag. I will assume that the higher the price, the better the wine. The encouragement we can draw from here is, God is not cheap. When he blesses, he bless us with the best.
When we honor him with our wealth and the best of our produce, he will honor us with his wealth and the best of his produce. His wealth is greater than our wealth and the best of his produce is greater than the best of our produce. This is definitely a profitable deal for us.