How You Can Prosper in a Recession!
Bad financial news is everywhere! With bank and corporate failures, stock market losses and a depressed housing market, rising unemployment and inflation, money problems burden more and more of us.
Yet note this biblical truth: The God of the Bible wants everyone to truly prosper in the area of personal finances!
Jesus Christ said one of the main purposes for His being sent to Earth was that we “might have life” and that we “might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Apostle John concurred: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health …” (3 John 2).
Prosperity is not a sin. It is a blessing. God is the greatest giver of abundance and prosperity. It is His will that we prosper and enjoy the “good things” in life.
Anciently, God made Job the richest man in the East. Once Job repented of his sin, God gave him double his original wealth (Job 42:10). God prospered Joseph abundantly (Genesis 39:2-3). God promised the Israelites great material wealth if they obeyed Him (Leviticus 26:3-5). “[I]t is [God] that giveth thee power to get wealth,” Moses reminded them (Deuteronomy 8:18). “Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth,” noted Solomon, another exceedingly wealthy ruler, “and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19).
If God wants everyone to prosper and live abundantly, then why are so many wracked by debt and weighed down with financial worries?
There are reasons!
What Most Don’t Know
God will not bless anyone who is breaking His laws. If we are breaking the Tenth Commandment by coveting goods we cannot afford, for example, then we will be far likelier to overspend and go into debt. If we are putting material goods before God, then God, in order to correct this, may curse us by withholding the prosperity He would much rather give us!
Do you realize that God, the Creator of all things including the air you breathe, claims ownership of all that exists? Understanding this important biblical principle is in fact the first key to financial success!
In Exodus 19:5, God Almighty says: “[A]ll the earth is mine.” Through Moses’s inspired pen, we read, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is” (Deuteronomy 10:14). “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. … [T]he world is mine, and the fulness thereof,” claims our Maker (Psalm 50:10, 12).
According to the Bible, “your” money—“your” income—rightfully belongs to God. “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:8).
This principle is important to remember when considering how we ought to manage our finances. What we may earn in wages or receive as a return on investments is not really ours—that is, not until two prior claims on our income are satisfied.
One claim is taxes. Jesus said that Christians should “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s …” (Matthew 22:21). But the first claim is God’s claim. Christ concluded that verse, “and [pay] unto God the things that are God’s.”
With this statement, Christ pointed to a fundamental financial law that we must keep if God is to be able to bless us with the prosperity He promises—that is, the law of tithing.
God’s Law Regulates Your Income
God’s law, confirmed throughout the Bible, is that the first tenth, or “tithe,” of every individual’s income be paid to Him via His chosen servants.
God is a God of love (1 John 4:8, 16). He knows your needs and wants. He has your well-being in mind. He is concerned for you; that is why He has made this law regulating your income.
God’s law concerning what you earn is, in fact, a deal He has made with you. Consider it: God allows you to work on His Earth, to use its resources, its forces and energies—to use what others have extracted from this planet, in manufacturing, distributing, selling, buying, investing. Whatever your occupation or profession, you are actually working in partnership with God!
When we stop and analyze this, we must admit that God surely supplies about 90 percent of everything we produce—and our own thinking, planning and working supplies, at best, perhaps 10 percent. Yet God doesn’t claim 90 percent of the proceeds, or the income. He doesn’t claim 50 percent, or even 30 percent or 20 percent.
God is exceptionally generous. He has reserved for His use only 10 percent of your income. And after you have been honest in paying God’s claim—HIS 10 percent—to His chosen representative (by the way, it is very important to prove where God’s work is, and tithe to the correct church), only then does God declare that the other 90 percent becomes legally yours. Our nine-tenths actually does not belong to us until we have paid God His tenth. That is God’s law!
How You Can Prosper …
Although the Creator God has unlimited resources, He has always conducted His work among and through human beings. Tithing (or “tenthing”) has been God’s financial system for millennia and continues to be a binding obligation upon New Testament Christians.
Long ago, even during the time of Abraham, God used the tithing system to underwrite His work. In Genesis 14:18-20, we see that Abraham (who was not a Jew, but who was the human “father of the faithful”; one who feared God and kept His commandments) tithed 400 years before Israel was commanded to do so.
Leviticus 27:30 and Numbers 18:20-21 spell out the details of tithing and show how the people of Israel were to tithe in support of God’s religious system. Even after Christ’s death, the Apostle Paul called tithing, which was confirmed by Christ, a law (Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:4-14).
Today, God’s Church uses the same method to finance its commission to deliver a warning message and preach the gospel of the soon-coming Kingdom of God—the very message Christ preached—to this unhappy, debt-ridden world.
The organization that sponsors this magazine is the very work of God (John 6:28-29)—and it is sponsored, financed and conducted God’s way, as God directs in His Word. This work is funded and supported by a growing number of co-workers who believe in the cause and gladly give of their incomes to support it.
Each week, our headquarters office in Edmond, Oklahoma, receives letters, e-mails and calls from our co-workers telling us how they have been blessed for supporting this work. Those who pay God’s tenth are prosperous—not necessarily wealthy, but their needs are always supplied.
… Even in Hard Times
Have you ever wondered why financial difficulties are so prevalent in our economically advanced age? These problems were foretold centuries ago in a remarkable prophecy!
Notice what God asks through the Prophet Malachi: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” And God answers, “In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation” (Malachi 3:8-9).
There is a definite cause for every effect. The United States has been the wealthiest nation on Earth for many years. Tragically, it is slipping to a second-rate status. The U.S. economy has been eclipsed by that of the European Union. Bankruptcies are epidemic. Personal and collective debt is at an all-time high, and financial troubles are wrecking families. Families that should ideally have a minimum of three to six months’ income in savings in case of emergency instead have virtually no savings—and are plunging even deeper into debt.
If you are suffering from a lack of abundance or blessings, how can you turn things around and begin to prosper in these increasingly difficult times?
The Bible gives us the answer. Continuing in Malachi 3: “Bring ye all the tithes [the whole tenth of your gross income] into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (verse 10).
That is God’s promise! Why not put God to that test? Why not prove Him to see if He doesn’t increase the value of your income in this looming recession so that your own 90 percent God gives you will be worth more than your whole income now?
A Spiritual Blessing
God’s system of tithing is a financial law. It is sure to bring financial blessings. More importantly, though, it is guaranteed to yield tremendous spiritual dividends!
Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). That, too, is a law. If your treasure is in this society’s entertainments and pleasures—if you are spending “your” money—God’s money—only on yourself and your own needs and selfish desires—then your whole heart and interest is in this world and not in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (verse 33), and then all these material needs will be added to you besides. Seek God first, and He will see that your needs are met—even in hard times. Seek His Kingdom with all your heart, and your financial troubles will begin to melt away; your life will become happy as you prioritize eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yes, tithing is a law that produces manifold blessings. Why? Because it reinforces God’s way of give and actually helps us to develop holy and righteous character.
Jesus taught, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
Notice this beautiful cycle! See how the principle also applies to tithing: God gives to us—and we give back to Him on a return circuit that which is rightfully His—and He gives us more!
There is no way we can ever out-give God. Truly it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). When we honor God with our substance, then our own material needs—and even many of our wants and desires—will be supplied. In addition, God will shower tremendous spiritual blessings upon us.
Yes, God wants us to prosper spiritually most of all. But He wants us to prosper in our personal finances too. Here’s the key: We must learn to put God first in everything. Backing and supporting God and His work, which includes faithfully paying our tithes, must take precedence in our lives.
When we invest our prosperity in God’s work, we express our recognition of God’s rulership over our planet’s wealth and over us individually. We show our cheerful adherence to the first great commandment—worshiping the one true God and Him only. And the man or woman who keeps God’s financial law will reap the physical and spiritual blessings promised in His Word.
God will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings so great there will not be room enough to receive them—guaranteed!