You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Perhaps this was drilled into you by a parent who wouldn’t spend money to take you to the amusement park…a boss who said he couldn’t give you a raise…a pastor who claimed there was no money for a certain outreach…or a politician who didn’t want to fund your favorite program.
But this old saying is completely wrong. And I can prove it.
If you’ve spent any time around churches, you’re probably familiar with Malachi 3:8-12, a famous Scripture passage on tithing and financial stewardship. God says His people had robbed Him of the tithes and offerings He was expecting. As a result of their unbelief and disobedience, they had forfeited His intended blessings and put themselves under a curse.
Contrary to how preachers sometimes use this passage, it isn’t meant just to hammer people for failing to tithe. The much bigger objective is to encourage us about God’s desire to abundantly bless us if we follow His instructions: “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!” (v. 10 NLT)
Think of it: God doesn’t merely want to bless you with enough provision to pay your bills or put food on the table. He wants to give you more than enough for your own needs, so that your life can overflow and become a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2, Psalm 23:5).
However, even if you’ve caught this Biblical vision for overflowing abundance, you may find yourself puzzled in how to attain it. In all likelihood, that’s because you’ve missed God’s typical mechanism for giving you this kind of prosperity.
Maybe you thought His promise meant you could expect to see money dropping from the sky, much the same as how the Israelites received their daily manna. So you watched and waited, but you were dismayed to find that this unusual type of supernatural provision rarely comes. And like many other well-meaning believers, you may even have concluded that God’s promises simply aren’t true.
Sadly, the Israelites in Malachi’s day had arrived at this very same, very misguided conclusion: “What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands…?” (v. 14) Something had gone tragically wrong in their perspective—but perhaps you can relate.
You see, instead of dropping His provisions from the sky, the Lord most often wants to bless something we’ve planted on the earth. Yet we’re likely to miss it if we’re looking in the wrong place.
So what does this have to do with money “growing on trees”? Take a look at what God says: “Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe” (v. 11).
There’s a crucial point here—something we often miss in all the talk about tithing and sowing seeds into God’s kingdom. In order to experience overflowing abundance, we ordinarily will need to plant a tree, a vineyard, or some crops that the Lord can bless on the earth. While this may be a literal farm or orchard, more likely it will be some kind of fruit-bearing (and money-producing) idea or business venture.
However, too many Christians are so spiritual that they’ve failed to do this. Even if they tithe and sow financial seeds into churches or ministries, they’ve never cultivated any crops God can bless on the earth. He wants to abundantly bless them, but they’ve given Him nothing tangible to work with.
If you’re in serious financial need today, my heart goes out to you. I know what that feels like, and it’s not fun.
But instead of getting mad at God for not providing, I encourage you to stop and pray. Ask the Lord what mechanism He wants to use to bless you. Is there an investment He’s leading you to make…a business He wants you to start…an amazing creative idea He wants you to copyright or patent?
Money really does grow on trees, but only if you plant and cultivate the trees! The result can be incredible, not only blessing you and your family, but also leading to a life of widespread influence and impact: “Then all nations will call you blessed” (v. 12). People will notice, and God will be glorified.
So go ahead and plant your tree—a tree that that will bear fruit and blessings for many months and years to come.