Some pastors get more specific, teaching that the tithe should go to the local church, and then other God-honoring causes should be supported with money above and beyond the tithe.  If you are a member of such a church, I encourage you to do as your pastor teaches.

Pay Your Purpose First

Part of the conventional wisdom in our culture is to “Pay yourself first.” The idea is that if we are to build a reserve and be able to retire one day, we need to make savings our highest priority.

Saving and investing are important. However, simple, meaningful success is found in paying our purpose first, and the first purpose of our lives is to honor God. Financially, that means devoting the first portion (what the Bible calls Proverbs 3:9) of all that we receive to supporting His work in the world.

If you’re new to the idea of giving truly choice gifts to God, at first it will feel like a lot.  Eventually, though, it will feel like it’s not enough.

That’s been my experience. It was difficult at first. Honestly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t even see how it could be possible. But I have discovered the truth of Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There is something about the practice of generosity that increasingly orients our hearts toward God.

As we grow in generosity, we discover that there is great joy in using money to make life changing, eternity shaping differences in the lives of other people.

Got a response to any of the above? Meet me in the comments section.

Other posts in this series on the 11 principles that lead to simple, meaningful success:

Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, leads workshops at churches and universities around the country, and serves as Associate Editor at Sound Mind Investing, America’s best-selling investment newsletter written from a biblical perspective. To learn more and for a free subscription to the Sound Mind Investing blog, go to

Publication date: April 19, 2012