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2 Corinthians 8:1-5
They gave themselves first to the Lord, and, by the will of God, then to us.
-2 Corinthians 8:5
Have you ever watched a tee-ball game where the children are just beginning to learn baseball? Have you ever seen a child, so excited to hit the ball off the tee, that the youngster runs directly to third base and then races back to home plate to score?
Too often we think of giving to the church as a financial decision rather than as a stewardship decision. We shortcut the ground-rules, like the child running directly to third. We rush to start off in the wrong direction. We hurry the process. As a result, we may make a donation to the church, but we do not make a stewardship commitment.
To make a stewardship decision, we have to go all the way around and touch all of the bases. Reaching first means making a faith decision before we even consider the financial aspect of our giving. Reaching first means calling to account our lives of faith before doing any financial accounting.
In 2 Corinthians 8:5, Paul says of the Macedonian church, "they gave of themselves first to Lord, and then to us in keeping with God's will." Getting to first means determining your commitment level before deciding your financial position. Making a stewardship decision means responding to a deeper calling of faith, not reacting to a quick accounting. A stewardship decision is first and foremost a faith commitment, not a financial calculation.
First things first. They gave themselves first to the Lord. That is the place to begin a conversation about a stewardship decision.
Action Item: First things first. Instead of rushing to the calculator or the budget, answer these questions first. What does God call me to be? What does God call me to do? What is God doing in my church now? How is God working in my life now? What could God do through me? How can I give myself more fully to God?