Today's Thoughts: Giving to God First
Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:17-19 We quote Philippians 4:19 frequently to ease our concerns about insufficient finances as we say, "I know that God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." However, did you know that the context of this verse is about giving, not receiving? According to the context of this Scripture, Paul was saying that we will receive from God if we are willing to give to God first. Paul was thanking the Philippi believers for giving to him. Paul also said that he had learned to be content in all circumstances and he was thankful that they gave, so that fruit may abound on their behalf.
Why is it so difficult to give first? How can we live with an eternal perspective when it comes to money? Because we need to pay real life monthly bills, make actual house payments and physically handle money, it is difficult to believe that our money will go the extra distance by giving tithes and offerings. We can give away older things to replace them with newer things, although that kind of giving tends to be to our personal advantage. We can give to our families and even to our own social life, but to tithe regularly seems impossible. The word "tithe" means a tenth or 10% and God specifies that the amount is subtracted from our first fruits (our gross salary). God also talks about "offerings." An offering is in addition to the tithe. This seems like it would require too much faith to even begin giving.
But God asks us to give so He can bless us, to give cheerfully, not with clenched fists. If we open our hands freely to the work of God, we are in a position that we can freely receive from His open hand toward us. Corrie ten Boom said, "I have learned to hold on to things loosely because it hurts when God pries them away." The interesting thing about clenched fists towards God is that we can never protect what we have from God any way. Remember: God will supply all of our needs when we supply to His first.
Oh Lord, help me to give to You without my left hand knowing what my right hand is doing. Let me be a blessing to You first and I will trust You to take care of me.
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