Have you ever been standing in line for a long time, when suddenly one or several people jump in line in front of you? How does it make you feel? The act of jumping in line, also known as butting, barging, or skipping in line, is the act of entering a queue or line at any position other than at the end. Studies reveal that most people behind the skipper become quite upset. As Christians, we are called to have God first in our life. What other things are butting in the line before God? Please read more.
The Bible tells us, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Is God truly first in our life? If someone completed an internal audit of our life, accounting for every hour of our time, every dime of our money, and the use of our talents, would their audit confirm beyond all doubt that God is number one in our life?
When we think of putting God first in our life, this might surprise you, but the topic of stewardship should come to mind. Why? Because stewardship is discipleship. It is striving to live as Jesus lived – God first. It is acknowledging God as the source and origin of everything we are and everything we have. Everything is a gift to us from God. Once we embrace this truth, in humble gratefulness, we are to make a return to God from all His gifts to us. We are called to give our time, talent, and treasure.
Today, I want to place an emphasis on treasure. This is not to say that the giving of time and talent are of less importance.
Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us, “Honor the LORD with your wealth, with first fruits of all your produce; Then will your barns be filled with plenty, with new wine your vats will overflow.” Is this the reason to give back? Do we give to the Lord out of a quid pro quo relationship? Should we give because we are hoping to get back? Clearly not; we should give because God, after all, is the source of everything we have, including life itself.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Not only should we give back to God first, but we should do so, joyfully.
Putting God first means so much more than just tithing our money, but giving back from our income and wealth is a vital part of stewardship. Are Christians required to tithe? Giving a 10 percent tithe is clearly biblical. If we don’t give 10 percent, does God love us less? No, but it might be a good indicator that we don’t love God enough. It might be an indicator that other financial commitments have jumped in line before God.
Ask yourself this question, “If I am not currently giving 10 percent of my income back to God, who or what things have barged to the front of the line before God?” What am I spending my money on? Does God only get my leftovers? Does giving back to God have the primary place of importance in my monthly budget? If not, why not?
To be crystal clear, God loves us whether we give or not. We don’t tithe to earn His love because He already loves us beyond measure. Tithing is not a financial issue; it is a spiritual one. Tithing is not a money matter; it is a heart matter.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Tithing is something that is very important to learn early in life. Parents should begin teaching their young children about this important biblical principle. Young adults need to be well grounded in tithing as they begin to make their first big financial decisions. Too often, young Christians permit things like mortgages, car payments, and college and retirement savings to jump the line. God keeps getting pushed further to the back. Without having first allowed for their tithe and with spending already stretched to the max, God only gets some small amount that is left.
Financial advisors and advertisers tell us that a comfortable life is one that allows spending and doing leisure activities without any money worries. They tell us that this is the way to peace and happiness. People often achieve this level of comfort only to find that they are not truly happy. Something is still missing.
The world’s way to financial peace does not bring us the peace we truly seek. Real peace comes only from God. It comes from obedience to His word and putting Him first in every area of our lives including with our money. We get upset when someone jumps in line ahead of us. I wonder how God feels when we allow so many things to jump in line ahead of Him. When we put God first, when we give to God first, we then experience a sense of contentment and peace that is beyond understanding. Isn’t that, after all, what we all truly want?
Heavenly Father, in Colossians 3:17 it states, ” And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Help me to always keep this message close to my heart. Amen!
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A special note of importance
Many of you know my friend Joseph B. Galloway as the author of the book The Broken Door. Thousands have enjoyed the healing message contained in his book. Joe has just published a new book, the message of which served as inspiration for today’s 4th Day Letter. The name of the book is, It’s Not Your Money: Finding the Peace of Putting God First. In this book Joe shares his story of how he found peace by going deeper in his discipleship by taking the step of faith of putting God first , including with money. His book is available by clicking the link for the Compass Catholic Bookstore. All Christians would benefit from reading this book because the principles of stewardship are universal for all Christians. With that said, Joe did write this book with a Catholic audience in mind. I highly encourage you to check out Joe’s new book.