Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Things First

"But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way." -- 1 Corinthians 14:40

Some days I struggle with order, especially when it comes to managing my time and money.  Yet, God calls us to be disciplined in every area of our lives.  Discipline requires the habit of doing first things first, whether that means writing our tithe check before paying our other bills, even if feel we can't afford to, or foregoing an enjoyable or beneficial activity because of more pressing responsibilities.  Sometimes it even means saying no to worthwhile endeavors, such as serving at church or volunteering for a committee at school, in order to maintain a balanced set of priorities.

Most days the first thing I do is have my quiet time.  It is something I look forward to each morning and sets the tone for the rest of the day.  But on days when life gets in the way and I am unavoidably delayed in meeting with God, anxiety and chaos creep in and leave me with a deep longing to be in his presence.  If I can somehow manage to make time for God and regain a sense of direction, then pretty soon peace settles in and I become content once more.

One of the hardest things we face in this economy is obeying God's command to offer him the first portion of our income.  Yet this is what God 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" (Malachi 3:10).  This is something I struggle with regularly, yet God always provides what our family needs, often one day at a time.

If you find yourself with more to do than time to do it, or expenses that exceed your income, try this:  give God the first portion of your income and the first part of your day.  Commit to him the resources of time and money that are his to begin with and ask him to help you better manage that which he has entrusted to you.  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

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