‘…I gladly give my tithe to God because I want to let Him know that He is first in my life. And because we give our first to the Lord, He blesses us, protects us, and provides for us.’ — Robert Morris, ‘Unlocking the Rewards of Generous Living’ (Chosen Books 2014)
No, this isn’t a review of Robert Morris’ book, though I might just do one after I’m done reading this life-changing work. It isn’t truly about tithing either, but I am going to talk to you about the number one tithing principle. Tithing isn’t just about money, or the church, or even the Father Himself…it is also about us, our character, faithfulness, and ability to trust.
My family has been in the same situation a lot of folks find themselves in…on a tight budget. And even in those times, there are things that happen in our lives that we cannot control. It can be when the car breaks down. Or it can be Illness, which means doctor visits, unexpected co-pays, costs for necessary drugs. It may be when we are generous to someone else, a family member, a friend, or someone we don’t know, who is in a bad way. We have the money right there, beside us, and we give it, before we pay our tithe. There are many more situations that may make it difficult to give to God what He has commanded. But we have chosen to write that check as soon as payday arrives. We won’t spend anything, until we have spent on God.
‘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.’ Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
Much of our problem, as human beings, is we neglect to put God first. Our priorities are skewered, messed up, totally out-of-place. God should always be first, in all things. If we are disciples of Jesus, and we follow what He has taught, then He is the priest of our homes, He is who we walk, talk, and work like. If we seek Him first, all good things will follow…
‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.’ Matthew 6:33 (HCSB)
Think of the situation Cain and Abel found themselves in. Abel brought to the Lord the firstborn of his flock. He brought the very best. And the Lord respected Him for His choice. But Cain brought his offering ‘…in the process of time’. What does this mean? It means he did not bring the first fruits, or the best he had, right off the top, before any time had passed, before anything else was used or given in any way. Read the complete text of this in Genesis 4:2-16, and you will understand just why it is so important to give God the very best, the very first, of our increase.
Putting God first is just that, making Him Number One in our lives. When we do this, no matter the temporary inconvenience, no matter the worry or the fear, we honor Him. We show Him our love, our faithfulness, and very importantly, we show Him our trust. He will never fail us when we follow Him in grateful obedience. He is Our Hope, and He provides, protects, and blesses His children when they follow His principles in all things.