This is simply an exhortation to walk in God’s provision and prosperity, daily.
When we approach the topic of God’s provision, we often find controversy in the Body of Christ with respect to what different ministries claim the Bible says on this important topic.
The truth is, God is a loving heavenly Father who provides liberally for His children. He knows we have need of food, clothing, shelter, and the necessities of life. God is a God of purpose and plan, and every Christian should be either working, studying (hard work!), in ministry, or healing. There is wonderful rest and peace in God’s kingdom, but no place for laziness. We need to redeem the time here on earth, and we fill our rest days with listening to the Word of God, pulling out the guitar and singing, and wonderful play dates with my children. Recreation = RE Creation, a time to rejuvenate, relax, play, and meditate on the goodness and love of our Father. As my schedule, work load, and responsibility levels have increased over the years, I have learned the wisdom of God’s Sabbeth. One day/week where I refuse to schedule any chores, work, ministry, or other commitments, but deliberately sleep in, eat a great family breakfast, and do something fun with the family. In our house, this is Saturday, but I am not so convinced that is the day of the week it needs to be. Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: All of us have different work and study schedules, and I believe there needs to be one day/week of rest. What day that is will be between you and the Lord.
The kingdom of God is not a sweat shop, filled with work, work and more work. There is ample time to rest, relax, and enjoy the ride. If you are not having fun serving Jesus, you are not doing it right.
Jesus said it this way:
Matt 6: 25 ¶ Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Obviously, from these verses, we see that the heart of our heavenly Father is to provide for His children, but the question that begs asking, is “How much will He provide?” and “Just how does He provide?”
Practically, we could be eating at a food bank, or building multibillion-dollar projects for God, depending on how well we learn the principals of stewardship given us in the Word of God.
Well, many, many great books have been written on the topic of Biblical Prosperity. I will list a number of these that you can order at any Christian bookstore, at the end of this lesson.
When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you were adopted into the family of God. You are a son or daughter of the most High, called to live as Jesus lived in the earth. He was never poor in His early ministry, nor should you be. Yet, the pursuit of the will of God must be our primary aim and goal, not the pursuit of wealth.
Natural things often depict spiritual things, and in the natural, what loving parent does not want their child to do better in life than they?
God is the same way; He wants us to do well in this life, and takes pleasure in our financial prosperity.
Ps 35:27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
God wants you to do well in this life; He takes pleasure in your prosperity, as you serve Him.
God said of king Uzziah:
2Ch 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.
Isaiah 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Pr 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
Deuteronomy 28:2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
There are three mains things I need to discuss about God’s provision: work and stewardship, tithes and offerings, and reaping your harvest.
1. Work and Stewardship – Spiritually, we are all rich. Jesus paid it all, and His righteousness has been granted to us. Ps 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Everything in the earth was created by God, and belongs to Him by right of Creation and again by redemption.
The problem in the earth today is what caused Jesus to have to die upon the cross. The sin of mankind. Statistics say that one out of five children in the earth will go to bed tonight without having eaten supper. Obviously, sinful people and the devil, have made this planet a real battleground, and money figures highly in many of these battles.
Yet, God loves you, and wants you to have good things.
One of the primary ways He has provided for you, is through your work.
In the beginning, God’s man Adam, was given land, and a job.
Ge 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Remember my lesson on the nature of addictions? To ‘Dress it’ means to tend and cultivate it. To ‘Keep it’ means to protect it from enemies and pests. Sounds like a landscape and farming business, and military service all in one ball of wax.
Work is not sinful, nor a result of the fall. Good healthy work has always been God’s plan for man. Work is not a curse, as some would make it out to be, but is a blessing of God to mankind. Obviously, we have seen God’s original intent for work perverted by sin and Satan, yet the cure for misuse is not no use, rather correct use. Work is supposed to be one of the ways God’s provides for us and a blessing in our lives, and the workplace wonderfully develops us in Christian character.
Overwork is wrong, so is laziness.
Psalms 128:2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Pr 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
Ps 104:23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. (Not all night!)
It is good to work hard,
Ec 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Proverbs 14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
Penury just means poverty.
It is good to work hard, yet it is better to work smart.
Ps 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
The first commandment of the Bible is to love God, above everything else. Seek ye first, is the cornerstone of successful Christian living, and true financial prosperity and happiness. Placing God first in your finances and workplace is the cornerstone of true prosperity, out of this relationship with heaven will come the wisdom, strength, direction, self-control and favor from which to build a financial future.
Along with working and seeking God first, putting His will above ours, and His Words above our own desires comes the principal of stewardship. Jesus said this about stewardship.
Luke 16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon
Godfrey Davis, who wrote a biography about the Duke of Willington, said, “I found an old account ledger that showed how the Duke spent his money. It was a far better clue to what he thought was really important than the reading of his letters or speeches.”
How we handle money reveals much about the depth of our commitment to Christ. That’s why Jesus often talked about money. One-sixth of the gospels, including one out of every three parables, touches on stewardship. Jesus wasn’t a fundraiser. He dealt with money matters because money matters. For some of us, though, it matters too much.
Our Daily Bread, August 26, 1993.
Since Jesus taught so much on financial matters, we too should study the Word of God with respect to finances, and to attend a good Bible believing church that regularly teaches the Word of God on this important area. We should include, in our yearly devotional lives, at least one or two books on financial stewardship and prosperity. For a number of years, I disciplined my self to read no less than one Christian book per week. Of the fifty or so books I read each year, there have always been at least one or two in the area of finances. If fully one sixth of the gospels are devoted to stewardship and financial matters, obviously God takes this area of our lives very seriously.
Over the short time I have been in Christian leadership, I have taught on finances many times over the years, to serve and equip God’s people to succeed in this important arena. Jesus is our Lord. We serve Him. Our use of our money is a direct reflection as to how seriously we submit to His Lordship.
We should diligently seek the Lord regarding every major financial decision in our lives. Especially on things like the purchase of a home, an automobile, or land. The Lord will clearly direct His children in financial dealings, and has our best interests at heart.
Establish the Tithe
Personally, I have never seen a Christian prosper financially over the long term who was not a committed tither. I am going to show you that tithing is a new Testament command, as well as the old, but in the New, it is based on a totally different premise than under the law.
Le 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.
The Word tithe means ‘tenth’. God wants you to give the first tenth of your income back to Him, as an offering, and day-by-day, week by week, to trust Him as your provider.
Mal 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
There are tremendous promises in the Word of God for the tither, but again, tithing without obedience to Him, is no slot machine to heaven. It is a foundational principal in the Word of God, in both the Old and New Testaments.
Mt 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
These verses describe tithing under the law, but we are under a new and better covenant, based upon better promises. We are not under the law, but under grace, to be received and walked out by faith. Under grace, God has already broken the curse of poverty, and positionally made us rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. We don’t tithe to earn riches, but because we trust in Him, and have been made rich, we tithe!
Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
Heb 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
Heb 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.
Heb 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
Here we see tithing described in the New Testament.
So where do we pay our tithes? Generally at the local church, if that church is embracing five-fold ministry, and building the kingdom of God. Ultimately, the tithe belongs to God, and should be given first to Him, as an offering, then into whatever earthly ministry the Lord directs. There are many great books written about tithing, I will list a couple at the end of this lesson for your future study. In short, establish the tithe in your life before the Lord, and you will see His blessing in many ways.
J.L. Kraft, head of the Kraft Cheese Corporation, who had given approximately 25% of his enormous income to Christian causes for many years, said, “The only investment I ever made which has paid consistently increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.”
J.D. Rockefeller said, “I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.”
W. A. Criswell, A Guidebook for Pastors, p. 154.
3. Faith to Reap
Any discussion of Biblical Finances would not be complete in my opinion without some reference to reaping what we have sown.
Mark 4:26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
Things in the kingdom of God operate by seed time and harvest.
Ge 8:22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Ga 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Ga 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Ga 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
In the natural, if you plant a garden, it is expected that you water it, weed it, keep the varmints out of it, and finally, after whatever you planted in it bears fruit, you need to reap or harvest the fruits or vegetables you planted.
Things in the kingdom of God do the same thing. Actions are like seeds. The old saying ‘what goes around, comes around’ is often used to refer to the negative consequences negative actions will generate.
If we lie. We often find ourselves being lied to. If we cheat people, we find ourselves being cheated.
Yet, the reverse of this true too. If you give love, forgiveness, honour, and respect. You will find yourself loved, forgiven, honoured, and respected.
If you give (sow) money. You will reap money.
Yet, in the realm of the Spirit, you have an enemy to your financial abundance.
1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Greed, or the love of money is Satan’s main root in the earth for controlling people. Money can be used to feed the poor, support missions, and supply local churches, or it can fuel pornography, gambling, drug and alcohol addictions, organized crime and an assortment of other evils. The money does not care. My van can be used to drive people to church, or to rob a bank. It doesn’t care either way.
Satan well knows the power of money, and it’s potential for God’s use. I have learned only too well, that there is a distinct battle in prayer for finances to come into the kingdom of God.
We will talk about fighting the good fight of faith, later in the course, in the section entitled ‘Know thy enemy’. Yet, know this, as you learn to give of your finances into the kingdom of God, God will expect you to aggressively reap the harvest on the financial seed that you have planted into His kingdom. Just as a garden does not plant itself, weed and water itself, neither does the harvest automatically come into our storehouse without some often very hard work. Money is not going to come to you either, unless you are diligent in the Word of God and prayer, to ensure that your financial harvest comes in.
The work of God in this is much easier, it is the labor of faith, where we call those things that be not, as though they already were.
I heard an illustration once on a television broadcast by Kenneth Copeland, given by Rev. Keith Moore on the power of sowing and reaping. Since I had the VCR set that day to record this particular broadcast, I was able to replay it over and over again, to write down the following testimony of tithing given by Rev. Keith Moore.
There was an experiment done a number of years ago by a Quaker man named Perry Hayden with respect to these laws as applied to wheat farming. Mr. Hayden was wheat flourmill owner, and a faithful member of his church. He heard a message one Sunday, out of John 12, you know where Jesus said, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it die, it bear much fruit. The thought occurred to him, ‘How much fruit’ So he decided to perform an experiment.
In 1940, he decided to plant one cubic inch of wheat. He counted the kernels and found there were 360 kernels. He planted them in a four by eight foot plot of land. He decided that he would harvest the crop from these, tithe on it, and then plant the rest of the harvest the following year.
That year he received fifty cubic inches of wheat. When he sold the five cubic inches of tithe, the amount he was paid was only one penny.
Now every seed in that first cubic inch of wheat was precious, and so was the 45 cubic inches that he planted in the second year.
It took him a plot of land 24 feet by 60 feet to plant it this year, but he harvested, or reaped 70lbs of wheat that year. He sold seven lbs of wheat, and tithed 50cents.
Now in only two years, 360 kernels of wheat became 880,000 kernels. One cubic inch became 2500 cubic inches.
The third year he had a rough year. A horse got into his field and ate some grain, the birds got some, and there was too much rain, but despite all of that he planted the 63 lbs of wheat on ¾ of an acre of land, and had an amazing harvest of 1000 lbs or 16 bushels of wheat. He estimated that for every bushel he lost this year, it cost him 4500 bushels, 3 years later.
The fourth year he sowed 860 lbs on 14 acres of land, and reaped 22,000 lbs of harvest. He tithed 2,200 lbs of wheat.
The fifth year he planted 321 bushels of wheat on 230 acres of land and reaped 5,555 bushels of wheat. His income that year was $22,000, he tithed $2,200 to his little Quaker church.
The sixth year planted 5000 bushels, on 2666 acres of land, and reaped 72,000 bushels, for which he was paid $288,000. His tithe check that year was $28,000.
Now in only six years, 360 kernels of wheat became 55 billion kernels of wheat.
Emphatically, he proved that tithing works!
Rev Keith Moore did a study of national, and area averages of wheat crop yields during this exact time period and discovered something very interesting. Other farmers, that were not tithing, that did the same thing as Mr. Haydon, only made $20,000 over that six-year period. He made $288,000, and he tithed each year.
Now, we know that sowing and reaping works in every area of life. The question I must ask you is “What if instead of sowing 360 kernels of wheat, you were to sow $360.00. Then as your harvest and increase came in year by year, you tithed the first fruits, and put all of your increase back into the gospel for six years. Could $360.00 become 55 billion?
Someone needs to do a study on this, and deliberately tithe on every dollar that comes in, and then deliberately sow 90% of your increase back into the gospel.
Remember, the first 360 kernels, every seed was precious.
So why throw a quarter, five dollars, ten dollars into the offering plate. It seems so insignificant.
The tiniest acorn produces the mightiest oak tree. Seeds are powerful things. You can count how many seeds are in an apple, but how many apples are in a seed?
Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
Father, I accept you as my provider. Help me to seek you first all the rest of my days in the earth. I determine to tithe, giving you the first tenth of all that you give me declaring before heaven and earth that you are my source, El Shaddai, my God who is more than enough. Right now, I take my place in your provision, and command Satan to take his hands off of my money. Father, I see that in the years I have not served you, I have not prospered the way you wanted. When there has been financial blessing, there has been sorrow. I am asking you Father, to restore unto me the years the locust has eaten I’m asking you for a good job, that I can do with a good attitude, that provides for my needs with more than enough left over to easily give into the kingdom. Angels, GO! Bring to pass my provision, financial soundness and wholeness. In your name I pray Lord Jesus, Amen.
1. Are you seeking first the kingdom of God? During this particular season of my life, I need to be at work early each morning and it is over an hour’s drive to get there. This means I need to begin my prayer time early. I have two children so this is not easy, yet I have been diligently seeking first God’s kingdom, a long time before they entered our lives. You can do it too. The amazing truth is, that when we place God first, and actively establish Jesus Lordship in our homes and families at the beginning of each day, He releases grace to accomplish incredible things in our lives that day.
2. Are you a tither? When we offer our tithe up to God, we declare before heaven and God’s throne our dependence on Him. We declare that He is our source, not merely this worldly system, or our paycheck. We show the angels of God that Jesus is our Lord and free them to help us. We declare to Satan and all of his minions that Jesus defeated him, and that he cannot touch our money.
3. Will you commit to reading at least one book on finances this year?
Mini books: Juggling your priorities, and The Breakfast of Champions by Billy Joe Daugherty
Biblical Keys to Finances – Kenneth E. Hagin
The Power of the Tithe – Bill Winston
Laws of Prosperity – Kenneth Copeland
Dave Ramsey – Complete Money Makeover
Money Cometh – Dr. Leroy Thompson
Financial Excellence – John Avanzini
Thirty-one reasons that Christians fail to receive their financial inheritance – Mike Murdoch
Fullproof Finances by David Mallonee.
Rules for Reaping – Rev. Keith Moore.