Joel Sarli was Associate Secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and the second editor of Elder’s Digest when this article was written.

Proverbs 3:9, 10


In the above text four points shine out clearly:

1. Every Christian has a duty of honoring God.

2. There is a method of honoring God "with our wealth."

3. How He would have us render our wealth "With our firstfruits." God first, then our own interest.

4. There is a sure result. Well-filled barns, and overflowing storehouses.

I. Why should we honor God?

1. Because He is the Creator and Preserver of the race.

2. Because He opens His hands, and satisfies the desires of every living thing.

3. Because He holds our lives in His hands and protects us day by day.

4. Because He provided atonement for the sins of the world, in His Son, Jesus Christ, through whom gospel, life and immortality are brought to light.

5. Because we as worshipers are made better by worshipping a God whose characteristics are ideal and eternal.

6. Because He holds out to the race for the great future.

II. What is meant by honoring God with our wealth?

This question is not difficult.

1. A farmer's wealth is what he gets in the way of crops from the ground.

2. The miner's wealth is what he digs from the earth.

3. The laborer's wealth is what he receives as wages each week, month or year.

III. What is meant by honoring God with the firstfruits?

1. It means giving God his share before we take our own. The usual method among Adventists is to provide for our own wants and needs, put a little aside for a rainy day, keep a little for our clothes and spending money, and then if there is any left-we will honor God with our wealth.

2. Illustration

Suppose you ask a contractor to build a house. You furnish him with complete specifications, showing just how you wish the house to be put together, and finished. He reads the specifications over and signs a contract to do the work according to the plans and specifications.

In looking over the finished house you find that he has not gone by the plans and specifications at all; but has worked just as he happened to feel like working. Instead of putting in first-class timber as was called for, he put in inferior timber.

Question: Would you be under any moral or legal obligation to pay the man for his work? You know that the laws of the land would uphold you in withholding the amount you had agreed to pay.

3. Now is it not the same with God?

He has promised to fill our barns with plenty, and cause our presses to burst out with new wine, on condition of our honoring Him with the firstfruits of our wealth. If we provide for all our needs and wants first, and then drop a few cents in the contribution box out of what may be left, is God under the obligation to fulfill His promise of blessing? Not in the least.

4. The reason God wants us to give Him His portion first is because such an act requires faith.

In Heb. 11:6 we read, "And without faith it is impossible to please God. . . "

5. Jesus taught us the same great truth when He said in Matt. 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and these things will be given to you as well."

6. This is in line with Paul's teaching to the Gentile Christians,Corinth and Galatia. He taught them to lay by (for the cause of God) on the first day of the week, before spending a part of one's self, or for one's family; as the worker would most surely do during the second, third, and fourth days of the week.

7. In giving God His part first, the believer puts God in the position where He has got to fulfill His part of the contract.

IV. God's "Shall"

Beloved, God's "shall" is worth more than the best gold bond issued by the most reliable of the government of earth.

1. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful" (Heb. 10:23).

2. The sun would fall from the heavens before God would fail to keep His word.

3. The solid ground beneath our feet would crumble and disappear before God would fail to keep His appointment with those who honor Him with their wealth, and with the firstfruits of their increase.

V. Taken literally or spiritually?

Some people say: "This promise of God's is not to be taken literally. It's a promise of spiritual blessings." Not so, my brothers and sisters.

1. The accepted rule for biblical interpretation is that where a passage can be interpreted literally, and convey sense, it should be so interpreted.

2. The fact is, that each and every term in this passage is to be taken literally. Spiritual blessings do not cause barns to overflow, or wine presses to burst out.

3. God here promises temporal blessings to those who will honor Him with their temporal things.

4. There are hundreds of Christians all over the world who have received the fulfillment of this promise literally.


1. Question: Do you know by actual experience the fulfillment of this promise? If not, then let me say that God is waiting to crown your life with this blessing also.

2. In this promise nothing is said as to the amount, or proportion with which we are asked to honor God. Were it not for the fact that we have a whole Bible, we might never have learned the full details of God's plan.

3. But today's message is: "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to over flowing, and your vats will brim over the new wine" (Prov. 3:9, 10).

4. May the Lord be pleased to fulfill this promise in your life.

Texts in this article are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zonderoan Bible Publishers.