Summary: Third in a series on stewardship
Intro. Everybody loves a home run. It is so exciting to see the batter stand at the plate, especially if the game is on the line, size up the pitcher, make just the right swing, and then see the ball soar high into the centerfield seats. Wow, now that’s baseball! But I would like to suggest to you that even a home run starts at first base. Listen, by the rules, when you hit a home run, you must round the bases beginning with first base, and touch every base before you can touch home plate and be awarded a home run. If you miss one or go the wrong direction, you’ll be called out. Every run in baseball begins with first base and a whole lot more runs are scored by those who get singles or walks than by those who hit homers. First base is, after all, first base.
So how does that relate to Heavenomics? I’ve already shared two principles: First: It’s Not Yours and Second: You Only Keep What You Give Away. What is the next? Well, the third (and I believe the major operating) Principle of Heavenomics is: Keep First Things First. Just like you wouldn’t hit the ball and run to third or just step on home plate, Jesus said that there’s something that takes priority in all of life. It’s not what’s for dinner, it’s not where will we live, it’s not even what will my career be. Jesus said, "Seek first (my 401K, the doctor bill, my education, to get married, the next promotion...no)...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..."
In other words, the first priority in our lives is to walk in relationship with God as a member of His eternal kingdom, to receive His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to experience righteousness as a part of every day living AND, in doing that, everything else I need in life will be added, by God. I would say, then, that Heavenomics involves wrapping all of my life around what comes first, avoiding distractions and detours, and getting the first things right – in other words, never underestimate first base! You might restate this principle by saying:
Keep God First In . . .
. . . . Handling Assets
(verse 24) "You cannot serve God and mammon..."
A. Uphold God’s Ownership. (First Principle revisited)
1. Practice Scriptural giving.
a. The Tithe: the minimum evidence that I believe God owns it all.
Proverbs 3:9 "Honor the Lord with your possessions, and the firstfruits of all your increase."
The tithe is often misunderstood. Some believe it is Old Testament law & not for followers of Christ. Others believe it is a qualification for being a Christian and God will reject us if we don’t tithe. Neither is correct. The tithe actually originated before the Old Testament law when Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek (Genesis14:18-20). He tithed to honor God as the One who delivered the enemy into his hands. Jesus later affirmed tithing in Matthew 23:23, "Woe to you...you pay tithe of mint, anise, cummin, and neglect the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." In Malachi, God equates withholding tithes to robbing God, saying to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse so we will get blessing from God. (Malachi 3:8-10)