I enjoyed school growing up, but there was one fear that I had, and in fact it was a nightmare I had on more than one occasion. In fact, I’m willing to bet some of you have had a version of this same exact nightmare. The nightmare is that you walk into school one morning, and everything seems normal. You walk into your first class, and you start to get bad vibes because you see everyone with their heads buried in their textbooks, frantically flipping pages and looking stressed.
And then (here’s where the horror comes in) one of your classmates looks up and says, “Are you ready for the test today?” And then you say the two words you never, ever, ever want to utter as a student: “What . . . test?” Isn’t that a horrible feeling? As Christian adults, we all take a test multiple times a month, and most of us don’t even realize we’re taking one.
In a recent post I shared the Principle of First, that if God is first in your life, everything will come into order. But if God is not first in your life, nothing will come into order. I don’t think many Christians would disagree with this concept in theory. It’s the application that gets a bit tricky. This principle includes every area of our lives, including our finances. If God is first in every area of our life but not in our finances, then He’s still not first. That leads to another timeless principle (kudos to Robert Morris and his original sermon on this concept): the Principle of the Test.
The Principle of the Test: Every time you get paid, you take a test. Whether you get paid once a week, twice a month, once a month or at any other interval, every time you get paid, you take a test. The test is simply this: is God first in your finances? Where does the first portion of your income go? Does it go to God or somewhere else? In Matthew 23:23 Jesus affirms the old covenant concept of the tithe when he says,
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” Matthew 23:23
Do we trust God with the first portion, the first tenth (tithe) of our income? Tithing is ultimately about trust: do you trust that if you give God your first portion, that He will provide for you and take care of your needs? Do you trust that 90% of your income blessed by God will go farther than 100% of your income not blessed by God? Whether you realize it or not, multiple times a month, every single time you get paid, you take a test on this critical decision of trust. Is God really first in your life? Your words may whisper an answer but your pocketbook screams the truth.