Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine. (NIV)
Put money in the offering plate. This benefits the Lord’s work, yes, but it also benefits you.
It checks greed in your spirit.
It reminds you that you owe all things to God.
It checks the human urge within you to put money above God, to trust money more than God to take care of you.
It loosens your grip on material things, and it loosens materialism’s grip on you.
It brings about the blessing of God in your own life. God is generous towards the generous.
I believe there is a very real material component to this reciprocity. God takes care of those who regularly give to God. People who don’t put money in the offering plate have become their own gods, taking on the responsibility of taking care of their needs. So God backs off.
But those who give to God, especially when funds are tight, are demonstrating their trust in God to take care of them.
Didn’t the widow who put in “all she had to live on” demonstrate that?