One Way To Put God First

July 20, 2009 by
Filed under: Giving, God's Place, Making Money, Philosophy 

God will have no place in your life other than first. If He isn’t first He isn’t on the list. Jesus was focusing on this very matter in the Sermon on the Mount and He said,

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these (material) things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

The one thing Jesus said would compete with God for first place is money (Matt. 6:19-34). He referred to our material resources, or money, as mammon and in His words, either God or mammon comes first. If God is first, money will be our servant. If money is first God is pushed out.

The truth is, money is either the catalyst or the barrier to God having His rightful place in your life. How you manage each paycheck will reflect, not whom you love but whom you love most.

Money management, of course, is a complete subject on its own. Even if God has His rightful place in your budget, skills for managing the rest of your money must be learned. But, for the purposes of this study, learning to pay your tithe to God first on every payday is the one part of managing money and the only rational option. Paying more is acceptable. Paying less misallocates funds. Paying nothing excludes God completely.

The important question to ask is this: Is God in the “must pay” category of your budget? The first check you write every time you get paid should be your tithe check. If you wait till everything else is paid first there very likely won’t be enough left over to give. When that happens you are placing Him in the category of “expendable income” not first place.

What should come first in our lives, God or material needs?” That is a good question. Most Christians would probably qualify their answer.

“Well, God should come first” they might say “but He wouldn’t expect us to go without what we need.”

According to Jesus, God is the principle by which we manage the budget or the budget is the principle by which we manage God. It almost sounds silly but many people treat God as if they are in control and He must wait until they manage to fit Him in.

If God is placed “first” in the budget He will become the invisible but very tangible Provider of your needs. Jesus didn’t say we must suffer, do without material needs or even sacrifice. He said we should put God first and if we do God will take the necessary steps to see that our material needs are more than just met.

Of course, where God fits in the budget list is only one question. We must also ask “how much” should we give. Well, the traditional amount is ten percent – tithe – and I have written several posts discussing the issue, attempting to answer questions people have raised. You can see the entire list here.

There are some who grouse about the idea of giving consistently and would never agree to ten percent but here is the truth. I doubt anyone would become destitute because they tithed even if God didn’t provide support. We are talking ten percent here. Tithing doesn’t deny your access to a very good life. It helps you avoid becoming a consumer in the absolute sense.

My advice? Don’t just include God in your life a little bit, occasionally. Put Him first, tithe.

Philosophically speaking the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount is a very strong endorsement of tithing. What do you THINK!AboutIt?

In Tithing, Douglas Leblanc provides much more than a narrow discussion on a traditional issue. It isn’t the same old arguments presented the same boringly technical way.

Instead, and probably because he is “no theologian or exegetical writer,” Douglas has found an intriguing way to cut to the real heart of the issue. He shares the experiences of eleven different couples and one lone Monsignor, all of whom endorse tithing for a very similar reason: selflessness.

Comments

8 Comments on One Way To Put God First

  1. Mark on Wed, 22nd Jul 2009 12:28 am
  2. Do you really see the principle of firstfruits as inseparable from the tithe? And do you really think that Christ has tithing, or even giving, in mind here? Christ is merely saying that a believer should not be materialistic, but dependent on God. Or that a person should desire God more than money. You’re really, REALLY stretching the text to make this about tithing. Firstfruits, maybe (but not really). But to make this try to say that Christ is affirming a definite proportion in giving? Not quite.

  3. Mark on Wed, 22nd Jul 2009 12:33 am
  4. And you’re committing a common logical error that comes up in discussions like this all the time. “Oh, you don’t believe in the tithe? You’re just trying to justify giving less in the offering.” You don’t know my motives for rejecting tithing as a command. Perhaps I’m just trying to be Biblical. And the truth is the OT tithe doesn’t even completely fit the principle of firstfruits since the cattlemen gave God the last tenth of cattle, and in a random manner, not necessarily the best of the crop.
    I think a Christian is responsible to give. But I think tithing proponents have not worked out NT principles of giving and are trying to set up too many correlations between Israel and the church (Pastor is the Levite, Church is the temple, etc.) that really break down when you actually think about them.

  5. Sally on Mon, 7th Dec 2009 5:28 am
  6. It is so interesting how we “claim” that God is the almighty God from whom ALL blessings flow. If we believe God is a mighty God, why is it a struggle to pay tithes and offerings?

  7. EnnisP on Mon, 7th Dec 2009 6:38 am
  8. Hey Sally,
    Thanks for the visit and the comment and I agree with what you say. It is logical.

    I think there are a lot of well meaning people, and very good Christians, who don’t see it this way, but they do give a tithe or more consistently.

    I don’t think they articulate good arguments for their approach to giving and telling anyone there are good reasons not too tithe without looking into all the details of a persons’ financial situation or explaining very clearly the conditions under which tithing doesn’t apply is too open ended for me.

    Suggesting tithing was rescinded at the cross doesn’t help either. We are responsible for our finances and the way we handle money still reflects on our relationship to God.

    Thanks again for the visit.

  9. Janis on Wed, 10th Mar 2010 11:46 am
  10. Nice post. nowthinkaboutit.com rocks.

  11. EnnisP on Thu, 11th Mar 2010 6:08 am
  12. Thanks for the visit and the compliment Janis. Glad you enjoyed.

  13. UPSETCHRISTIAN on Sun, 24th Jul 2011 6:59 pm
  14. Horrible Post: Show me where Jesus said ANYTHING about Tithe or Money besides “Give to Caeser what is Caesar’s….”
    Here how it goes, this article to me looks like you want money. It doesnt matter what you wanted to say.
    Let me break it down what God wants and how we get here:
    - Adam Sinned – Holy Spirit LEFT
    - The Law was created
    - Jesus came to earth – Spirit Rested- SAVED BY GRACE.
    Nothing and I mean NOTHING can get you closer to God, it was finished on Calvary.. We keep putting HUMAN characteristics on God, like he needs ANY money. We are not saved by ANY WORKS.
    I cant stand when “Christians” post things like this and hell fire…
    STUDY TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED!!!!
    THANK GOD your sins are forgiven….

  15. EnnisP on Sun, 24th Jul 2011 7:43 pm
  16. Hey Upset,
    You are welcome to disagree with any post on my site and to make any arguments you wish to prove your points but you aren’t welcome to insult, abuse or accuse anyone in the process.

    For the record, if Jesus had said anything about tithing other than “it is no longer a principle to follow” – or something to that effect – we would have good reason to disbelieve the Bible. His intent was not to repeat everything in the NT that was well established in the Old.

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