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Giving God the First: When You Give (Part 1)

Giving God the First: When You Give

Do you want to live a blessed life this year? Don’t miss the third strand in the three-fold cord of giving, praying, and fasting!

When You Give …

In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus speaks of three “when’s”:

  • “When you give …” (v.2)
  • “When you pray …” (v.5)
  • “When you fast …” (v. 16)

During Pursuit 21, we spent twenty-one days focusing on “when you pray” and “when you fast.” But we only gave a one-day nod to “when you give.”

Jesus speaks of money and giving later in Matthew 6 also. The subjects of money and giving surround the topics of fasting and prayer in this passage. This is reason enough for us to study giving on the heels of Pursuit 21.

But in addition, tithing is a vital way that we give God the first of our lives. If we engaged in Pursuit 21 out of a sincere desire to give God the first of everything in our lives, then we cannot overlook giving God the first through tithing.

Trusting God with Our Treasure

In Matthew 6, after Jesus gives instructions for “when you give … when you pray … and when you fast,” He speaks about our treasure:

“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven,where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. …

24 “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:19 – 21, 24).

If you’re unsure whether God is first in your life or further down your list of priorities, look where you spend your money. Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

The rest of Matthew 6 continues, saying in essence, “Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or wear. Trust God. Seek Him first and He will give you all these things!

Seeking God first involves three things: praying, fasting, and giving.

We claimed we were seeking God first when we fasted and prayed for three weeks. But seeking God first also includes trusting Him with the first of our income.

Seek God First by Giving Him the First

The reason we fast at the beginning of the year is to give God the first of our lives—the first of our year. But are you giving God the first in every area of your life?

Is it easier for you to give God your meals and time in prayer than it is for you to give Him your money?

Are you giving God the first of your income? If not, do not exit this seeking-first-season thinking you’ve sought God first above all else.

If we fasted and prayed out of a desire to give God the first of our lives, then we must examine whether or not we’re giving Him the first of our income.

We may have elevated the Giver above His gifts when it came to His gifts of food and time … but if we didn’t elevate the Giver above His gift of provision, we’re worshipping an idol in the area of our finances.

“A checkbook is a theological document; it will tell you who and what you worship.” ~ Billy Graham (Tweet this)

Giving Reveals Where You Place Your Trust

Tithing reveals where we place our trust and what we worship with our money. (Tweet this)

God doesn’t tell us to give because He needs the money. He tells us to give because it demonstrates our faith and trust in Him. (Tweet this)

During Pursuit 21, our fasting and prayer demonstrated our faith and trust in God. Similarly, giving God the first of our income also demonstrates our faith and trust in Him!

The Most Important Part of the Tithe

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, writes:

The most important part of the tithe is not that it’s 10 percent of our income, but that it’s the first 10 percent. God didn’t tell Israel to conquer all of the promised land and then give Him one city. He told the people to give Him all of the silver and the gold from Jericho. Why? Because it was the first one, and the rest would be blessed if they gave the first one. God didn’t tell Abraham to have 10 sons and then give Him one. He wanted the first one!

The reason God accepted Abel’s offering and not Cain’s was because Abel gave the firstborn, but Cain didn’t give the firstfruits. Cain brought an offering in the process of time. God accepts only the first! It takes faith to give the first one, yet God said that if we would, He would bless the rest. In biblical times, if an animal was unclean, a clean one (a lamb) had to be sacrificed for it to be redeemed. Jesus was the firstborn clean Lamb of God, sacrificed for all of us born unclean so we could be redeemed.

This is what the tithe does. When we give our firstfruits to God, the rest of our fruits (money) are redeemed. Doesn’t this bring tithing to life? … The truth is, tithing was a principle that was in Scripture hundreds of years before the law. It is simply the principle of putting God first in our lives.

Did you catch that?

The most important part of the tithe is not that we’re bringing God ten percent of our income, but that we’re bringing Him the first ten percent. (Tweet this)

Tithing is simply the principle of putting God first in our lives. (Tweet this)

It Requires Faith but Leads to Miracles

It takes faith to give the first ten percent, not the last ten. Cain didn’t bring God his firstfruits, and he reaped the consequences. Abraham was prepared to give God his son Isaac, and God honored his faith by working miracles in his life.

“Most people never see a miracle because they never give God the opportunity to perform a miracle for them,” Robert Morris says.

One way we give God the opportunity to work miracles for us is when we exercise faith and give Him the first of our income.

Upcoming Posts: Robert Morris Series

As I was fasting and praying, seeking God about what to share in the posts after Pursuit 21, God made it clear: focus on the third strand in the three-fold cord. Focus on giving, in addition to your praying and fasting. After all, the discussion of money and giving bookends the topics of prayer and fasting in Matthew 6.

If we want to live a blessed life this year, then we will take time to see what God says on this vital subject.

The best sermon series I have ever heard on the subject of giving is The Blessed Life by Robert Morris. Each of the next five posts will include a sermon from this powerful, life-changing series.

Tweetables

  • Collect for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Mt. 6:20 > Tweet
  • “A checkbook is a theological document; it will tell you who and what you worship.” ~ Billy Graham > Tweet
  • Tithing reveals where we place our trust and what we worship with our money. > Tweet
  • God doesn’t tell us to give because He needs the $$. He tells us to give because it demonstrates our trust in Him. > Tweet
  • The most important part of the tithe is not that it’s 10% of our income but that it’s the first 10%. > Tweet
  • Tithing is simply the principle of putting God first in our lives. > Tweet

Questions: Where are you storing up your treasure? Are you giving God the first ten percent of your income, or the last ten?

OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One Response to “Giving God the First: When You Give (Part 1)”

  1. Albert m says:

    Thank you for this enlightenment that will be taking root in my life. You talk about what and who we put first. I’ve taken this matter far too lightly. I will put it to the test with my finances, in faith by the Lord’s grace, and see its blessings

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