FFH - Found A Place - Devotional #4
- Thursday, March 02, 2000
by Jennifer Deibler
(application by Jeromy Deibler)
Read Proverbs 3:9-10
While doing my quiet time one morning God revealed something to me that, while very simple, changed my perception of what God desires from us as His followers. I was pondering over the aspect of tithing, and giving sacrificially of our finances. I was recalling what I had learned growing up - that all money is God's and we are to return to Him the first fruits (ten-percent being a good guideline) of what He provided to us. This Biblical fundamental is easy for me to understand because my parents are the most giving people that I know. Growing up, I watched them give sacrificially of whatever they had whenever they could. Mom even gave up her job so that I could be homeschooled and I've actually witnessed my Dad give someone the shirt off of his back. No joke! Even in hard times they have been faithful, and it has left a lasting impression on both my family and myself.
After thinking and praying a little while longer, God began to reveal something even more to me. He wanted me to understand that, although He is concerned about my financial giving, He wants more than that. He wants the first fruits of everything I am. From my finances to my talents to my time spent at home. God wants and deserves the best of all of the things He has given me. Later that day I shared with Jeromy what I felt God was telling me and we began exploring the practical aspect of what we thought God was trying to say to us. Were we really giving the Lord our best, our first fruits? We named off aspects and areas of our lives where God was not getting our best and listed things that He wanted from us. We looked at those areas under a spiritual microscope and were amazed at the lack of time and attention we were giving to our relationship with the Lord.
Let's take a moment to put our time spent under the "first fruits microscope" and see just how much of ourselves we are returning to the Lord. Let's start with the simplest common denominator - the hours in our day. If we are awake from 8:00 AM until 10:00 PM (an average of fourteen hours), we should be spending our best one hour and twenty-four minutes of the day with the Lord. But where will we find that kind of time? There are meals to cook, and chores to do, and sit-coms to watch. I guess that's what God is talking about when He tells us to be living sacrifices. It's not just about money! God wants access to our checkbook and our datebook! So often we spent the first fruits of our time at work, on the phone, or in front of the TV, and God is left with a memory verse before school or a prayer before bed. That's not Godly sacrificial living, and it doesn't lead to the abundant life Jesus talks about in the Gospels. (see John 10:10)
Fortunately we don't serve a God of legalism. He doesn't keep a checklist or ask us to punch a time card. God doesn't allow rules to come before relationship. However, He has giving us a good guideline to live by. This week as you undergo your daily routine, be mindful of what God desires from you. Remember that everything you have is a gift from the Lord (Jas 1:17) and that He loves when we give cheerfully in return. Also keep in mind that it is better to give than to receive and that the Lord will return a blessing to you that far outweighs the sacrifice.
"Lord, grant me a giving heart and help me to return to You the best that I have to offer. Thank You for the things You have blessed me with. Help me to understand how to give sacrificially and cheerfully of those things.
For further thought and discussion
1. How much time are you spending with the Lord each day? Write this number down and compare it to the time spent at the computer, on the phone, etc...
2. What things can be shifted in your schedule and daily routine to allow for the much-needed time
with the Father?
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