Don’t you love to be first place? Don’t you love it when your husband puts you first? Before his job? Before his hobbies? We all know when playing sports, kids love to be first place! I can be very competitive! Even when I am playing cornhole or ping-pong, I want to be first place! The same is true of God. God loves it when we put Him first place. When you study scripture, there are many scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament when God emphasizes that He wants to be first…not second, not third…first.
Genesis 4:2-5, “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. But Abel brought fat portions from some of their firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Cain and his offering, but on Abel and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.”
Hebrews 11:4, “It was faith that made Abel’s offering to God a better sacrifice than Cain’s. Through his faith God approved of his giving.”
Exodus 20:2-3, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.”
Deuteronomy 8:17-19, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”(NIV)
The way we show God that He truly is first place, and it is not just lip service, is when He is the first thought of everyday, first consideration of every problem, first place in time, and first in our giving. Probably the hardest of these ‘firsts’ is in our giving. This can be because we are in debt, because we are greedy or selfish, because we live in debt or because we don’t think God is really serious about what He says. In the Bible, the word ‘give’ and ‘giving’ are listed 2,258 times – obviously giving is important to God.
If giving is hard because you are in debt, I highly recommend you take Financial Peace University (FPU), which is a Connect Group that we offer at the Church that gives you Godly principles for getting out of debt. If you are interested, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Blessed Life, by Pastor Robert Morris, is a great resource on understanding God’s view on giving. This is available in our Source.
Also, last night at First Wednesday, Matt preached a great word on how and why we give God first place in our finances. If you missed the service, you can listen to the podcast here.