POST #4: (becoming) fully submitted, Part 3

In the last post, we talked about giving God the first fruits of our time.  Today, we’re going to look at giving him the first fruits of our money.  Ah, everyone’s favorite topic: finances.  In general, this is not a popular topic, but it’s one I think is vitally important.  Below are some questions that should help us start evaluating this area.

1. What do I spend my money on?  (Consider all areas of your spending.  Necessities and non-necessities.)

2. How much of my money do I give to God and God alone?  If the answer to this question isn’t at least 10%, I’d encourage you to start working towards that goal.  I’ve not yet heard a story where tithing ultimately had a negative effect on someone’s life.  God promises to pour out His blessings when we step out in faith and put our trust in Him.  Malachi gives us one of the best known verses about this.  Malachi 3:10 reads:

“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.”

3. How involved is God in deciding where the rest of my money goes?  (Do you pray about your general budget?)

4. From what areas of my finances have I excluded God?  (What money have you made “off-limits” to God?  A vacation fund?  Year-end bonuses?  (does anyone still get these??)

5. What part of my money is used in a way that I haven’t consulted with God about?  (Do you assume that certain purchases are okay because they’re small or they’re just something you’ve always done?)

Obviously, all of us are in very different financial situations.  For instance, my husband and I will likely never be able to afford an elaborate in-ground pool or yearly vacations to an island or new cars.  Does that mean that anyone who does spend money on those things is sinning?  Absolutely NOT!  God will choose to pour out more financial blessings on some of us than others — and He’ll ask us to do different things with the money He gives each of us.

And we need to remember that, too: All of the money we “earn” is a gift from God.  All the talents we use to earn that money are gifts from God.  When we remember that, it’s easier to consult Him about these decisions.  We have to remember to change our prayers from “How much of MY money do I have to give you?” to “What would You like me to do with YOUR money?”

What I’d encourage us to do is this: Pray about each use of our money.  Just because we get a raise doesn’t necessarily mean we can now get a more expensive car or fly on vacation instead of drive.  It might mean that, sure.  But it might also mean that we can support a local food pantry or donate a piece of land to a church plant.

My challenge to you: For the next few days, consult with God about each purchase (even if it’s one you usually take for granted).  See if He has any new, exciting plans for the money He’s entrusted into your care.

If you’re struggling with a particular aspect of giving your money to God, please feel free to share in the comments below (or in an email, if you’re more comfortable with that

If you’ve been successful at giving God the first fruits of your money, please share some of your strategies below!

I’d love to hear, too, about any of you who started tithing (or increased your tithe) and saw God do spectacular things.  I’m sure some of you have amazing stories about this!

In my post next Monday I’ll share a situation that caused me to make a big change in my life in regards to giving God my first fruits (specifically of my time/energy).

In the meantime, look for (prayer) warrior wednesday posts and (unsolicited) suggestion friday posts later this week!

To read the next part in this series, click here: (becoming) fully submitted, part 4

To read this series from the beginning, click here: (becoming) fully submitted, part 1

You might also be interested in the (becoming) a good steward series — while this series isn’t exclusively about money, it is about surrendering what we like to control to God.


5 responses

  1. Ugh…you don’t mess around, do you? Thank you so much for giving us the nudge (push? shove?) that we need to really start looking at what we do with the gifts God has given us. I know that I have been selfish with God’s gifts on many occasions. I appreciate your straightforward, no-nonsense, and VERY Biblical approach to this issue and the encouragement you bless us with!

  2. I’ve been tithing for awhile and I like seeing that money directed toward God each month, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought about God when it comes to where I spend the other 90%. It just… never occurred to me! But just this morning, my husband and I were discussing the possibility of going “cash only” for a month as a way to check ourselves, to see where our money goes and if we truly live within our monthly income. Thank you for this post. As we try a cash only month, I’ll be thinking not only about how much I spend but WHY, and if it’s really in God’s will.

    1. Hi, Jenn! I’m so glad you liked the post! The cash only thing is such a great idea. I’d love to hear how it goes.

      By the way, I loved hearing about your time in Italy on your blog. I remember reading the one about the American groceries this summer. And I remember saying in amazement to Dan: they only have two kinds of chips! How is that possible? But from the looks of some of your pictures I would gladly give up my chip options for those views! Honestly, though, I was amazed by how brave your were over there, especially with G’s hospital stay and everything.

      Are you guys settling back in to California okay?

  3. I actually have a funny story about that. My first run in with taking God at His Word, and testing Him in regards to giving, happened in 8th grade. (Although at the time the motivation was selfish- the trust was real). We were a couple weeks away from our 8th grade “graduation” and I couldn’t afford a dress. It wasn’t a necessity but it was definitely a desire of my heart- I had only recently read the part in the Bible where God urged us to test Him in our giving so I decided to give it a try. On Sunday of that week I prayed over the only $10 I had to my name… knowing that even though it was all I had, I needed to give it in faith that God would use it and He would bless me for it. (I never told my parents my desire or the fact that I gave my last $10). The next day, after school, I remember sitting in my mom’s salon in a room off to myself silently praying for God to somehow make it possible for me to get a dress for the graduation. My mom’s friend, who was getting her nails done, called me into the room where they were and told me that she wanted to give me a little something for graduation. She handed me a $100 bill. Even in 8th grade I almost started crying right there. That was the first time I ever had an in-your-face answer from God. I’ll never forget that little lesson. 🙂

    1. That is so awesome, Cassie! Thanks for sharing that story. I was much older than 8th grade before I had that kind of trust in God to take care of me. What a cool experience at such a young age. I love those straightforward blessings: the ones where there can be no doubt — it’s just answered prayer!

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