That is one reason the Lord says to us over and over in the Scriptures, we are to prioritize giving to Him the first portion of our income. The Bible teaches that we are to put God “first” in our finances. Most translations of Proverbs 3:9-10 read, “Honor the Lord by giving Him the first part of all your income …” We are to put God first in our finances. The Lord then tells us in Proverbs 3:9-10, “you give Me the first part back, and I’ll bless your life and home.” I’m not sure why – but over and over in the Scriptures God has noted that money is a test of our priorities. One reason, perhaps, the Lord makes it such a test of our priorities, is because we spend so much of our lives trying to earn it, spend it and save it. Therefore, the Lord says that our checkbooks, credit card statements and other financial statements are indicative of how much we love and trust Him.
Question – “If you looked in your checkbook today, whom or what would appear to be top priority in your life?” Some people discover when going through that exercise, that buying clothes, eating at restaurants, driving an expensive car, living in a big house or pursuing their recreational hobbies is the top priority of their lives. Others, when going through that exercise, discover that the Lord really is the top priority in their lives. The way we spend our money demonstrates whether or not God is first in our lives! Deuteronomy 14:23 reads, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.”
Second Question – “What is tithing – and why is so important to God, ourselves and to others?” Tithing is giving the first 10 percent of our income to the Lord. It is “honoring the Lord with our wealth and giving Him the first part of our income.” Leviticus 27:30 teaches that “the tithe is holy to the Lord.” In Malachi 3:8-12 we find God saying: “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse …because you are robbing Me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. ‘Test Me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops . . . Then all the nations will call your blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Some people think that tithing is not mentioned in the New Testament, but Jesus Himself said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:23: “You give a tenth …But you have neglected the more important matters …justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter (tithing), without neglecting the former.” Jesus was not saying that people shouldn’t tithe. He was saying that we should tithe, as well as live loving and godly lives. Then, in other New Testament Scriptures, Jesus and Paul indicate that we are to be giving liberally and generously, even far beyond the tithes (Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; and 2 Corinthians 8-9). The Scriptures teach that our practice and attitude in giving is indicative of how much we love the Lord and others, and whether or not the Lord is first place in our lives.
Oftentimes giving obediently and generously to the Lord is difficult for many believers, especially for newer believers and especially for believers who are going through difficult times. I encourage you to prioritize, trust and even “test” the Lord however, in the realm of your finances. The Lord has promised to bless those who “honor Him by giving Him the first part of their income,” and He also utilizes the monies we give to strengthen His Church, spread the Gospel, and meet the needs of lost, hurting and struggling people all around the world. One of the best things we can do for the Lord, our Church, others, for ourselves and our family members is to be faithful in giving generously to the Lord.
As you pray today: 1) Pray for the Lord to help you accurately check your attitude and practice concerning giving, and make any corrections necessary; 2) Purpose in your heart to always strive to put God first in your finances, as well as the other arenas of your life; and 3) Ask the Lord to bless your giving, that you might in turn be a greater “giver” to Him, your Church and to others in the future.