Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart
from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all
your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will
overflow with new wine.
As we approach the start of a new year, we consider the things we put first in our lives. The scriptures are full of encouragement and the promises God has for our lives when we seek Him and trust Him in all areas of our lives.
Each new year comes with a new hope and anticipation. Our energies are renewed and what seemed hopeless now seems to be possible. As we enter the new year with renewed energy hoping to finally lose that weight, improve our finances, deciding that this year we will spend more time with our families, get ourselves to a church or make a difference in our community - whatever it may be, these promises fuel the inner ember that only need a slight breath of encouragement to ignite into a flame that is contagious and effective.
In the verse above, we are told to acknowledge the Lord in all our ways. In our time, talents and resources we should seek to make God first. As we enter into not only a new year, but a new decade, purposefully decide to surrender the best of all you are and of all you have.
When considering your time, ask yourself where the Lord would have you give your time so that you can have the biggest influence. If it's your talents, prayerfully determine whether the gifts the Lord has given you are being utilized for his honor and glory. And as to your resources, be strategic in your giving. Lay out the resources that God has entrusted to you, plan and budget, then challenge yourself to give a specific amount or level. Make that the first line on your budget and then follow through with that commitment faithfully and joyfully.
When you give of your financial resources, you are becoming a part of Kingdom Building. In the Lord's prayer we read, "thy Kingdom come, they will be done on earth". Kingdom Building here on earth is about spreading the gospel of Jesus to all people. Kingdom Building comes at a cost. It costs money for outreach resources, equipment and facilities to get that work done.
We don't give for personal reward or increase. Not at all. But isn't it comforting that God is telling us that we can trust Him to provide for our needs? Isn't it awesome that he also promises to bless us to overflow when we give him our first and best so that we can bless someone else again? And all of this to only to bring further glory to God, make us more like him and increase the spread of the good news about our God who is good and just and merciful to us, even though we don't deserve it!
God is good, you can trust that when you do what he asks of you, he will take care of you. He knows the plans he has for you and has plans to prosper you and will never hand you any challenge he hasn’t already given you the tools to conquer.
We are on the verge of a new decade. Personally, I want that decade to be marked by putting God first. I challenge you to do the same.