First or last?
Christians follow one of two philosophies in giving. Some take care of their own needs first and then give out of what is left; others give to God first and trust him to take care of their needs out of what is left. Which one is right?
Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
This clearly says that we should give the first of all we have to God and he will bless us.
But God gave another command regarding giving.
When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.
Those who grew crops were told to harvest their crops first but to leave some for the poor. They were told to give what was left over after their own needs were met.
We are to give the first part of our income to God and he has promised that if we do this he will meet all of our needs. Although God only requires that we give part of our income to him he is really the owner of all of it. We are permitted to use what we need but not to waste our money on unnecessary luxuries. If we are careful in how we manage our money we will find that after our needs are met we will have money left over that we can use to help others.
We aren’t really faced with the choice of whether to give the first or last part of our income to God. If we really want to do his will we will give both the first and the last.