You may or may not be a list-maker. It doesn't really matter. Because whether you are or you aren't, we all live by a list. We all do what's most important to us—our ones, twos, and threes. The tens, twelves, and fifteens rarely make an actual appearance.
The same goes for our money. We may or may not live by a budget—(Ron Blue will get us for that)—but we have our reasons for spending and saving the way we do... or don't. Our first things come first, whether they're sound or just selfish.
Thankfully, the Bible comes right out and tells us what our first financial thing needs to be: "Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce" (Proverbs 3:9). Before one dime goes toward dinner out or a new DVD—or even toward your mortgage, insurance, and utility bills—giving to God through the church where you worship should come right off the top. First thing.
Or how easily it becomes a forgotten thing.
If this sounds a little too radical and expensive, seek out someone you know who manages their money by this principle. Ask if it's proven to be a bust to their financial health, a decision they've grown to regret. See if instead God hasn't opened up the "floodgates of heaven" and poured out on them a blessing "without measure" (Malachi 3:10). When the Lord comes first, everything else just falls into place.
Pray this prayer: I ask you, Lord, to help me realize that everything I own or earn comes from you. May I be grateful enough to honor you with my giving, and to grow my trust in you at the same time.
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