Faith and Finances
By Vidar Ligard
Why do so many seem to not receive financial blessings?
The Lord said in Malachi:
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.
Mal 3:10-11 ESV
In Israel in Old Testament times, people would tithe from their farms, and God would bless them. Listening to some preachers today, we get the impression that if only we give, spectacular increase will come, almost like money will rain down from heaven, and without anything more than sowing seed, God will “pour down . . . a blessing until there is no more need.”
But God does not run the lottery, where a person can give some amount and expect a bountiful return without there being any further work involved, but He will bless the work of our hands.
The Lord commanded the blessing on you, and your barns, and all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you . . . And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground . . . The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
Our Part to Play
While God certainly does promise blessings, those blessings aren’t always as spectacular as some would wish. When a farmer gives to God, God promises that the work of their hands shall be blessed, and no devourer shall damage their crops. But that farmer still has to plant seed in his ground and maintain the right conditions for those seeds to sprout and grow. He still has to tend the plant once it begins to grow, and properly feed and maintain it. And ultimately, the harvest season is a time of long hours and heavy work, and even more so during bountiful harvests.
Without the work of sowing seed, nurturing the plant, and physically reaping the harvest, there would be nothing in the storehouse for God to bless. These are all agricultural references, but they apply universally. The broader message is this: God will bless us, but He only promises to bless the work of the diligent in all that they undertake. This applies whether the work is done on a farm or in the office.
Additionally, it must not be forgotten that a key factor of the blessing is diligence. Sowing is a type of work, but diligence speaks of the quality of the work being done. We must not forget that strong work ethics are necessary for financial blessings. We must go above and beyond what is expected of us in our workplaces if we want to be as blessed as God wants us to be. If we want to go above minimum wage in the “harvest”, we must go beyond what everyone else in our jobs are doing. We can’t expect to get a million-dollar harvest with a minimum-wage work ethic.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.
A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Furthermore, we cannot neglect to sow the right kind of seed for a bountiful harvest. Without us producing superior work, we cannot expect bonuses or promotions, which are another type of financial blessing. The quality of our work is the quality of our seed, so to speak. The Word says in Galatians, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” When we sow excellent seed (quality work), and maintain the quality of our work through diligence (attention to details, following through on assignments, going above and beyond what is expected of us, and all on a consistent basis), then financial blessings will follow us, and God can bless our harvest.
The Blessing of God
When God blesses, he gives the power to get wealth.
Deut 8:18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
The blessing of God is a real and genuine blessing, but it requires our cooperation in the natural. It will often come in the form of favor – favor to get good deals, favor to sell our products and services, and so forth. But one cannot passively sit and expect the results of this favor to come knocking on our door as we sit in our homes watching TV.
So our work and cooperation is imperative. At the same time, Solomon instructs us: “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. (Prov 23:4)” He is not saying to not work at all – but we are not to work exclusively in our own strength. It is very wearisome to force and labor for business deals in areas where the hand or the blessing of God has not prepared the way. Solomon further declares “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” Faith will put our trust in God – believing that He truly blesses. Yet, we cooperate with this blessing through work, without depending exclusively on our own work in order to make the blessing happen.
God has given us promises, but we must also use the faculties and capabilities He has given us in order to see these promises come to pass. If we want to ask Him for the blessing, we are not exempt from the principle of sowing and reaping.
There is a natural side to financial blessings that we are responsible for, and it cannot be neglected.