First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
Lord, I have enough.How often have you praised the Lord and thanked him for what you have? This is not the American dream and is usually not the American prayer. Our culture constantly pushes that we need more.“I not only want that new car or a bigger, better house. I NEED IT…I DESERVE IT!”However, Jesus teaches us that having too much can be dangerous to our souls. Why? Because when we live for having more, we lose sight of where our provision comes from.
When we are content with what we have, we grow our dependence on God.
In Genesis 14 Abram was reminded it was God who brought him back his fortune. So, he blessed God, by giving back his tenth. Then he refused to take more from the king of Sodom, because he anticipated that God would continue to provide for his needs.
“Every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17)
When we realize and acknowledge everything: every tear, every smile, every person in our life, every dollar we make, is a blessing directly from the Lord, our response should be two-fold.
- Inward Response
We are filled with gratitude
- Outward Response
We give back to Him in remembrance of what He has given us, and for the purpose of blessing others.
ReflectRead through the following questions.
Take as much time as you need and be real with yourself.
- Does your worship include giving back to God what He has given you?
- Reflect on why or why not.
- Take a look at you bank statement to see where your priorities are.
- Ask God to help you balance your budget so whether you have little or you have much, you have enough to honor Him for the gifts He has given you.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
You can’t take it with you!
There is this saying, and yes even a Scripture (I Timothy 6:7) that reminds us that we can’t take it with us when we go. Yet, we try so hard to hold on to the things of this world. Especially our money.
Now, there is a healthy balance between saving for the future and in giving. God does bring us wisdom as we navigate this balance. In the process, he asks us, actually tests us, in giving our first fruits to him.
Then reality sets in.
- The stress of paying bills and staying current.
- Providing for your kids and familiy
- Wanting what “they” have
The pressure is real.
Tithing first can often be a scary thing. We allow the fear of not having enough to override the power of God’s provision, so we often just wait to give our leftovers. And most of the time that means, we end up giving nothing at all.
What good does it do for me to give to God first?
The real question should be what good does it do for God to give to Him first? Giving to God first reveals His power and love as He returns the blessing of provision and protection to you. Your rewards may not always be seen here on earth, but God promises that your needs will always be met. “Do not store up treasures on earth where moths and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where it cannot be taken from you”. Matthew 6:19-20.
Where are your priorities?
Your checkbook is a good check of your heart.
- Where can you make margins in your spending habits?
- What do you need to ask God for to begin giving your first fruits to Him?
Philippians 2:3-4 NLT
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
We can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we can’t give on any given week. The most common, I think, is we don’t feel we can give enough to make a difference. It reminds me of the story of the young girl and the starfish
THE TALE OF THE STARFISH
It all started when…
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,“Well, I made a difference for that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren C. Eiseley
“The Star Thrower” from THE UNEXPECTED UNIVERSE by Loren Eiseley. Copyright © 1968 by Loren Eiseley and renewed 1996 by John A. Eichman, III. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Even a little generosity can make a big difference.
God doesn’t ask us to give big! If we can, that’s great! But if we can’t, we shouldn’t let it stop us. What matters is our attitude toward giving.
The widow in Mark 12 gave her very last pennies to the Temple and Jesus applauded her as the one who gave the most! Because she gave with faith and humility and thanksgiving. She didn’t give out of convenience. She gave out of faith!
Our attitude of giving is much more important than how much we give. If we have the faith to give our very last penny, God will honor that penny and multiply it. Not only for the one it is given to. But also, for the giver.
Even though Scripture describes tithing as ten percent (that’s the actual Hebrew meaning), giving cannot be confined to a formula. When we cheerfully and sacrificially give with the purpose of thanksgiving, serving, and worship, we will reap a bounty of joy and God will make us rich in every way. We might even see the rewards of our faith when our pennies are turned into dollars.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
- It brings me joy
- The thought stresses me out
- I wish I could do more
- It is only for the rich
- Ask God what He would like you to give
- Devise a plan with Him
- start small if you need too
- ask God to grow your desire and increase your capacity to give