Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
How important is God to you? Can you improve your finances? This proverb answers both questions! You can honor Him with your mouth, but talk is cheap. You should put your money where your mouth is to show true honor. Solomon promised, "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine" (Pr 3:10).
Success requires giving some of your substance, and the first part of any increase, to the LORD. Giving Him leftovers, whether great or small, is not honor; and it does not fulfill the proverb. The Preacher gave a financial secret - firstfruits giving to honor God. Giving money away is how to get ahead (Pr 11:24). Are you poor? You cannot afford not to give!
Firstfruits giving pays God off the top. Fruit is return on investment or labor. First is paying God before anyone else, including you. Many violate this rule by giving a few bits of all they make. Is this honor? Others violate it by giving from what is left after expenses. Is this honor? Is this firstfruits? Many give only a percentage of take home pay, though they always quote their salary in terms of gross pay. Is this firstfruits?
The tithe is not taught directly in the New Testament. It was taught in the Law of Moses. The Israelites gave 23 1/3 % with two annual tithes and a triennial tithe (Num 18:20-32; Deut 14:22-29). Plus they gave special vows and freewill offerings (Deut 12:6)! How did Abraham and Jacob know about tithing before the Law of Moses (Gen 14:20; 28:22)? Because it is a general rule of godly giving, which New Testament saints should use as a bare minimum for the far greater blessings they enjoy (Luke 12:48; Heb 8:6).
God dares His people to test how much He can bless them (Mal 3:8-12). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were financially blessed, because they knew how to give (Gen 14:20; 28:22). God made David rich (I Chron 29:18), but David loved to give (I Chron 21:24; 22:1-16). If you give liberally, the Lord will reward you liberally (Pr 11:25; Luke 6:38).
A Christian businessman, R.G. LeTourneau, grasped the concept of honoring God and giving - he gave 90% and kept 10% for himself, no matter his financial situation! He became one of America's great industrialists. "The question" he said, "is not how much of my money I give to God, but rather how much of God's money I keep for myself."
How you give counts more with our blessed God than how much you give! The Lord loves a cheerful giver (II Cor 8:12; 9:7). Giving should be your favorite financial activity! Our blessed Lord took note of a widow woman giving just two mites (Luke 21:1-4).