My name is Matt Reynolds, and I’ve been serving alongside Craig at First15 for the last several years on the operational side of things. I’ve always been fascinated by the relationship between following God and managing our money, and I’m honored to get to share a little bit more about what I’ve learned through my blog today. This is the second blog in a two part series I’ve written on this topic of how we can worship God through our finances, so if you’d like to read part 1, click here.
Combating Lies With Truth
After my last blog, I received some questions about how you know if you’re believing a lie about yourself and finances. So, I want to start off today’s post explaining what that has looked like in my own life.
Personally, lies have shaped my perception of my identity the most when I’ve been disconnected from Jesus. If I’m in a difficult season with little to no time connecting with him during my days, I start believing things about myself that simply aren’t biblical.
It’s been so important in my life to stay rooted in Scripture and truth to combat the lies. As you connect with Jesus each morning, the Holy Spirit gives you words and wisdom into your own identity and his plans for you. I start to feel a lack of peace surrounding anything that doesn’t line up with the Scripture or the Spirit. In those times, I present that anxiety to the Lord and ask him for clarity as to why I’m feeling that way. He responds with peace outside of my own feelings and emotions, as well as truth.
It’s so difficult to identify things outside of God’s plan for your life or outside of his image of your identity if you’re not in relationship with him.
How to Worship God Through Your Finances
I also want to spend some time today focusing on how we can practically worship God using our finances. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, God shares with us that he loves a cheerful giver. Growing up, that verse was sometimes used against me when I made a fuss about doing chores, but God has redeemed it as I’ve matured with him.
It’s such an encouragement to know that God looks upon generosity with love, not as a gift. Your heart and your why behind the giving is the important thing. The passage that comes to mind for me is John 15, when Jesus shares with us about the vine and the branches. Apart from God, we can do nothing, including being a generous person. We must be cheerful in our giving, abiding in God for direction and guidance.
Practically, the foundation of generosity in the Bible is the tithe. We see the tithe at work before the Levitical law in Genesis 14:20 when Abraham tithes a tenth of his spoils, which is acknowledged again in Hebrews 7:4. The Levitical law itself is full of detailed instructions on tithing and giving. And finally, Jesus himself makes reference to the importance of tithing in Matthew 23:23 when he is chastising the Pharisees.
The idea of tithing remains a controversial principle in our modern times, but it isn’t controversial to me. God calls us to tithe, and even promises to ‘throw open the floodgates of heaven’ in response (Malachi 3:10). It’s important to note that I don’t believe God is referencing a financial blessing on those who tithe. He isn’t saying that anyone who gives financially will receive a financial blessing in return, but rather His blessing, which is greater than anything we can imagine.
Please, if you’re struggling with this idea or have any angst or misgivings, go to the Lord in prayer. Ask him for clarity and for peace. Ask him what this means for your own life. Go to the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal their truths for you. In my own time with the Lord, God has revealed to me what the above passages mean for me and for my family’s relationship to the tithe. I believe he has the same clarity for you.
I believe that tithing with a joyful, generous heart opens you up to be a generous giver for God’s kingdom. As you begin to listen to the Spirit’s promptings as to where you can be generous with your own resources, he will reveal to you opportunities to invest in his kingdom here on earth.
Let me also say that our resources are not just money. We have the ability to give gifts of our time, talent and treasure. Any of the three can be used to further God’s kingdom on earth and to bless others. How are you practicing generosity in your own life? Have you asked the Lord recently how he would have you use your resources to further his kingdom?
Know that this is not a call to support First15 financially. We love and cherish every gift, but we desire first and foremost for you to have a thriving relationship with your Creator. We want you to be aware of his promptings in your own life, and to follow the call that he has placed on you. If that means supporting us, then we will be thankful, but we will be thankful for however you are obedient to him.
Take time today to go to God in prayer. Ask him where he wants you to be generous and obedient with your own time, talents and treasure.
Matt Reynolds | First15 Operations