One Way To Put God First
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.