*HOW* do I get to a place where I can put God first in my finances?

Last year, we took our girls to a few houses in the neighborhood for a little Trick-or-treating. The two older girls both collected a few handfuls of candy. We pretty much let them eat all of it that night. I know. Not great parenting on my part. But that’s another blog post.

One of my children came up to me and offered me her Nestle Crunch bars. Crunch bars are the worst! I don’t like them and she likes them even less. I know she doesn’t like them, because she told me so.

With that said, I had just watched her eat a ton of candy and I wanted something. So I ate a Crunch bar. Even nastier than I remembered. After I finally swallowed it, the kid asked me to pay her for it. Ugh.

My other daughter came up and said, “Daddy, I want you to have these.” She held out her hand and gave me two Smarties. This daughter LOVES Smarties. If we’re at the store, that’s the candy she wants. Now I don’t care for Smarties. They are about as bad as Crunch bars. But to me those Smarties were precious. Why? Because they were my daughter’s best. Those Smarties meant so much to me I left them in my car’s console for several weeks. Every time I looked at them I got the warm fuzzies.

God loves it when we give him our best and not our leftovers.

When talking to people about honoring God with their money, I expected people to respond defensively. I’m not sure why I expected this. It probably says more about me than it does about other people.

I thought people would push back and want to debate the specifics of giving and if it should be done. For the most part, this assumption of mine was totally wrong.

Truly, I bet around 90% of the people I speak to about giving to God agree it should be done. Most even agree with returning the first 10% to God (also known as the tithe — for more info see video link at end of this post).

The question many people have, however, is not if they should honor God with their money, but rather how can they afford to? It usually follows that they live on pretty much all they make and their not sure how to return the first 10% back to God.

So let’s say you want to honor God with the first ten percent of your income, but you live on pretty much 100% of your income. If this describes you, here are some practical steps.

  1. Adjust your budget (or create one!). Here is a good resource for coming up with a budget. Is there anything in your budget that you could lower or eliminate? The truth is there are probably plenty of things you could lower. A few easy examples include your budget for eating out, monthly subscriptions, and allowance. Slimming these down can free up a lot money.

  2. Make lifestyle changes when necessary. You may be hearing about bringing God the first ten percent of your increase for the first time. If so, you’ve probably already made lifestyle decisions that are preventing you from giving God your first and your best. If it meant being able to be obedient to God would you be willing to change your housing situation or downgrading your car? Understandably, you may not be able to do this overnight, but than again, you might. Have you over stretched on housing or cars? Is it time to make a change?

  3. Do a trial of giving God your first and living on the rest. Do a trial run. For 1 month commit to simply return your tithe at the first of the month and live on the remaining 90% that month. You may find doing this simply works out. We can always find an excuse to buy one more thing. A L W A Y S. What if you gave to God what is his first and simply found a way to live on what is leftover?

Most of us honestly want to give God our best. Get creative, be brave, and find a way to bring God your first and your best.

Let’s not forget what’s at stake here. This is not just something else to do. This is about putting God first in your life. It’s about trusting God. It’s about obedience. It’s about worshiping God. It’s about bringing God your first and your best and not just your leftovers.

God has promised to take care of you.

Malachi 3:8-10 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Want to know more about returning to God your first and your best? I recommend watching my message on Bringing God our First and Our Best right here.

Got a question? Email me at tim@essentialhsv.com.

Tim Milner