This morning’s reading from Morning by Morning has got me thinking.
You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the Lord of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.
Haggai 1:9 (ESV)
Grudging souls limit their contributions to the ministry and missionary operations, and call such saving good economy; little do they dream that they are impoverishing themselves. Their excuse is that they must care for their own families, and they forget that to neglect the house of God is the sure way to bring ruin upon their own houses. Our God has a method in providence by which He can cause our endeavors to succeed beyond our expectation, or He can defeat our plans to our confusion and dismay; by a turn of his hand He can steer our vessel in a profitable channel, or run it aground in poverty and bankruptcy. It is the teaching of Scripture that the Lord enriches the generous and leaves the miserly to find out that withholding leads to poverty. In a very wide sphere of observation, I have noticed that the most generous Christians of my acquaintance have been always been the happiest, and almost invariably the most prosperous. I have seen the generous giver rise to financial levels of which he never dreamed; and I have as often seen the mean, ungenerous soul descend to poverty by the very stinginess by which he thought to rise. Men trust good stewards with larger and larger sums, and so it frequently is with the Lord; He gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels. Where wealth is not bestowed the Lord makes the little much by the contentment that the sanctified heart feels in a portion of which the tithe has been dedicated to the Lord. Selfishness looks first at home, but godliness seeks first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, yet in the long run selfishness is loss, and godliness is great gain. It requires faith to act toward our God with an open hand, but surely he deserves it from us; and all that we can do is a very poor acknowledgment of our amazing indebtedness to his goodness.
It seems to me, Spurgeon appeals mainly to the financial benefits of giving. In summation, ‘Give to God and he will make you wealthy.’ I do see this principle articulated in the Bible, especially in Proverbs. But is this a good reason to give? Should I give generously to my church because God often blesses givers with more and more?
Of course, it is important for us to give of our funds. I believe giving of our income, regardless of what our income is, is the Biblical imperative. Perhaps Spurgeon is thinking of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-28) where the faithful stewards are given more to steward. I resist a mentality where we give strategically so that God will give us more. Sounds like discontent and sounds like the health & weath heresy. But perhaps this is Biblical…