Have you ever sat in a meeting with no agenda? I have, and every time, I’ve left those meetings wondering if they could have been more productive with an agenda in place. Agenda-less meetings lack order and the ability to ensure, every necessary item is covered in the allotted time. Agendas foster productive meetings. Knowing the order changes how far we progress.
As we discussed last month, God created the world with order and design. A theme God presents throughout scripture is authority and submission. We first see this order in the act of creation:
“Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights…the sun to rule the day…the moon and stars to rule the night.” Psalm 136:7-9 (NLT)
During the day, the sun has authority over the moon and the moon submits to the sun. During the night, the moon has authority over the sun and the sun submits to the moon.
God shows us authority and submission in both nature and in our relationships:
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21 (NIV)
Dictionary.com defines reverence as: “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration and the outward manifestation of this feeling.” Because of our love, awe and deep respect for Christ, we submit to one another.
When we look to God’s order for our finances, the most important thing to recognize is that it all belongs to God and His order starts with Him. God required His people to return a sacrifice, and He makes His order clear when He commands the Israelites to bring their firstborn animal:
“You are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord.” Exodus 13:12
The Israelites gave the firstborn not knowing if the sheep would have one lamb or ten. God’s people gave by faith and we are called to do the same. God is requiring the first; if God is second we’ve gotten things in the wrong order.
Obedience to God’s order is an act of faith. He set the example for us in Jesus:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God graciously gave us His firstborn; His clean, spotless Lamb. Jesus was given to redeem us, hoping we would come to Him. God didn’t wait for us to get it right, or become sinless. No, He sent His son, His only son, in faith; faith that we would turn to Him and away from our sin.
In the same way, how can we not give our first to honor Him? We are asked to go on faith, just as God did for us. When we honor God with the first we’re saying, “You own it all. I’m honoring you with the first portion, recognizing that it belongs to you, and I’m praying that the rest will come.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts and what God is putting on your heart regarding generosity. Please reach out to me!