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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
November 16, 2000

Honor the Lord by giving him your money and the first part of all your crops.
Proverbs 3:19 (CEV*)

But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
Matthew 6:33 (CEV*)

Many Christians spend their earnings on food, shelter, clothing, transportation, entertainment, etc., and then worry about where they can find the money to give 10% or at least something significant to the church. This is extremely difficult, not only for those with very limited incomes, but also for those with decent incomes.

If you're in this situation, I have good news for you! There's absolutely nothing in scripture to suggest you should do that.

We are not expected to give what's left over, but to give the first part. We are to first give to God in thankfulness for all His blessings and trusting that He will provide for our needs. It's actually much easier to give the first part, because when we do it that way we're doing it when we have the most, and there's still most of what we earn left over.

Years ago, I saw recommended (I don't remember where) the practice of having a portion of your income set aside as a deduction like your deductions for taxes, insurance, etc. from your paycheck. Many employers provide for this.

I decided to try this practice. I arranged for an allotment to come out of my paycheck to go into an account that is solely my tithe account. It goes for nothing else. It's never part of my take home pay, which is what we really count upon to pay our daily expenses. Because the money is an account established solely for this purpose, I find there is little temptation to use it for other things. And I don't have any trouble finding the money to tithe.

Whether this is quite what works for you or not, pray about where your first loyalty lies. How can you reflect that loyalty in your finances as well as in the rest of your life?

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2000 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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