Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, June 6, 2019

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” — Matthew 6:24

How We Can Bond With God Over Money

While some might find it a bit juvenile, I can’t deny how much I enjoy playing fantasy football, even as a grown man. Over the years, as my parenting and professional duties have increased, my time for hobbies like fantasy football has decreased. I still stay in one “league” where I’ve been active for more than a decade. Of course winning is the best — you get the bragging rights and cash prize — but that usually only happens once every few years, and most years you end up with nothing.

This year, I was very pleased to win my league after a four-year dry spell. My cut of the prize pool was $750, which is a nice chunk of change. My mind gleefully wondered about how I could spoil myself a little with the cash since this wasn’t money for our family budget. I settled on the most sensible uses for the money: spending some of it on an upcoming trip and putting the rest toward supplies for a micro-business I’m trying to start. I felt good about these choices and thanked God for this extra money. But God didn’t just want a thank-you card.

The morning after New Year’s Day, I had to drive my brother-in-law to the airport for a very early flight. We both talked about the desires we had for our lives this year, and how we hoped our perseverance through various obstacles would make way to new opportunities. After a prayer, I drove home with a thought in my mind: “God will never let a true believer be comfortable in life. He always blesses through challenges.” I started thinking about other people in my life who needed to understand that concept, when suddenly I slammed my hand on the steering wheel and yelled, “Aww man!” God had a challenge: He wanted me to make a sacrifice and give Him the $750.

Most of us know that when Jesus was fasting in the wilderness and was tempted by Satan, He said “thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the test.” But one place where the Bible says it is, in fact, good to test God is with our money. In Malachi 3:10, God says, “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’”

God tells us to test Him by giving the tithe (10 percent of our income) and see how He will provide even more for us. In fact, God requires the tithe and He does it to form a trust bond. He says, “I’ll provide 100 percent of your needs, but give Me 10 percent back to acknowledge Me as your provider.” God doesn’t need our money, but He wants our faith and commitment. And in return for our obedience with money, we position ourselves to receive even greater supernatural provision. It’s like letting go of one dollar bill in our hand so God can stick a 10, a 20 or even a 100 dollar bill in there. We just don’t know how or when He will miraculously provide. But our faith and trust grow as we wait with anticipation.

My wife and I committed to tithing about seven years ago, and after our mortgage it’s the largest single item in our monthly budget. The world might say that tithe money would be better spent paying off debt or investing in our home, but we see it as an anchor in our relationship with Christ. And we don’t want to miss out on what God will provide for us by illegitimately providing for ourselves with the first fruit that belongs to God.

Beyond tithing, sacrificial giving is next-level connecting with God because it’s even more about trust. It says to God, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” It says, “My treasures are not of this world, but of Your Kingdom.” And it sharpens us to live on the edge of our spiritual seat as we rely on Him. Your prayer becomes, “Even though it’s not logical to part with this money, I want to see You move and I believe You will.”

If you’ve never done it, it will amaze you how giving God control of your money can grow your faith. And when your obedience leads to experiencing a money miracle, which you will, you’ll want to see it happen again and again. Unfortunately, though, even after miracles, the sinful nature will always try to sow in doubt.

So after wrestling with God for a few minutes about maybe spending *some* of the $750 on the things I wanted, I decided to say, “God it’s all Yours.” I’m giving it to our church assembly to help pay down the mortgage, which they believe is a priority and I trust their judgement on the matter. This money may not shift the mortgage debt much, but giving it away has shifted my heart considerably. The decision brought tears to my eyes as I repented for not thinking of Christ first, and I thanked Jesus for who He is in my life and for drawing me closer.

I hope this little bit of my faith journey helps others on theirs. God doesn’t want our money, He wants our heart. But He can’t fully have it if we don’t turn over every aspect of our lives, including our finances.

God, I want to see you move. Please bless me and let my gift bless Your Church. Amen.

 Cleve William, media professional

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