God: First or Last in Your Budget?
By Rick Warren
— November 4, 2011
“The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives.” Deuteronomy 14:23 (TLB)
Tithing is the spiritual habit of giving back to God the first 10 percent of all I make.
If I make $100, I give $10 back to God; if I make $1000, I give $100 back to God. I get to keep 90 percent, but I give 10 percent to him.
Why do that? Because God says so, and that's reason enough. If you don't do it, you're disobeying God. But there's another reason. Jesus says, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21 NLT).
The reason I tithe is to draw me closer to God. The Bible says wherever you put your money, that’s where your heart is. If I put my money in a boat, that's where my affection goes. Wherever I put my money, that's what becomes important to me. If I put God first when it comes to my money, it says, “God, you're first in my life.”
If you show me how you spend your time and how you spend your money, I'll show you what's important in your life. Show me your schedule and your checkbook stubs and, no matter what you say is important, I'll tell you what's really important to you.
Today’s verse explains that “the purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first” in your life (TLB). If I say, “God, I want you to be number 1 in my life,” but he's last place in my budget, that's a contradiction.
The issue here is where you place God in your list of priorities. Your finances simply reflect what those priorities are. What do your finances reveal about the priority of God in your life?
Learn More About a Biblical Approach to Your Budget
Your finances are important to God. Saddleback Resources offers Managing Our Finances God’s Way, a seven-week, video-based study for small groups or individuals that will inspire you to live debt-free and/or manage finances in a way that enables you to respond to God’s calling on your life.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.