Don’t you just love how the Lord teaches you things from the mouths of your children? We were at church this past Sunday and I was standing at the door as a greeter. My son, Sam, will hang out with me sometimes when I do this job. If gives him a chance to catch all of his friends as they come into church.
This past week he was looking around and noticed the new flat screen televisions mounted in the entry way and the hallway outside of the worship center. They were added so people who need to step out of the service could continue to hear the message.
At home we have an old television. It is so old; in fact, we needed to get one of the converter boxes since everything switched to digital television. Recently, the picture has begun having spurts of breaking up or gets fuzzy for a second and then corrects itself. When Sam noticed the nice new flat screens at the church, he said, “Something is wrong when the church has nicer televisions than we do.”
His statement hit me like a punch in the stomach. I know he was teasing; however, our culture seems to hold that mentality corporately. We make sure we have everything we need at home before we give to the church. We pay our bills before we write checks to the church. We book our vacations and social engagements before we commit to give our time to the church. We make sure we have everything covered and then we give the excess to the church and the Lord.
We’ve missed something. The Lord and His church should get our best, not our leftovers. They are supposed to get our first fruits [Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:26, Romans 11:16]. The Lord doesn’t ask us to give to Him first because He needs what we have. He commands us to do it to teach us obedience. He knows the blessings that flow out of obedience.
In Malachi 3:10 He says “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” The Lord owns it all [Psalm 50:10], and He chooses to bless His children when we acknowledge His ownership by giving back to Him first what He has so graciously given us. We are not to horde for ourselves what the Lord has provided. If we do, we will not be blessed by it [Exodus 16:19-20]. One of the names of the Lord is Jehovah-jireh, which means the Lord will provide. Just as the Lord provided Abraham with a ram to sacrifice in order to save Isaac, He will provide all you need when you need it [Genesis 22:1-13].
Are you holding back from the Lord? Are you giving Him your best, your first fruits? It isn’t too late to start today.