Today’s Scripture: Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be roomenough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:10– 11

How is it that people have no problem paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for Christmas shopping, but when it comes to giving money in church, they freeze up faster than Lake Michigan in winter? As an example of this, I had someone ask me, “If salvation is free, then why do you need to give money at church?”

After thinking about the question, I said, “Water is free, but it costs money to pay for the pumps and pipes. Salvation is free, but the pumps and pipes cost money.” You can’t get water for free without paying for the delivery system. When we support the church with our finances, we are supporting God’s work.

We have a Savior who gave everything for us. He gave His time to show compassion on the multitudes. He gave His healing touch to people who had physical infirmities. He gave His hands and feet to be nailed to the cross. He gave His head to wear a crown of thorns. He gave His side to be pierced with a spear. He gave His back to be beaten by a scourge. He gave His life to die as a Substitute in our place. He gave it all! When we put our trust in Him, we get everything.

Considering all that we have received from God, is it too much for Him to ask us to put Him first in our giving this Christmas (and throughout the year)? I know this sounds like a risky proposition when our budgets are already stretched, but it is actually the best thing we can do with our money. When we put God first, He will put us first. He will bless our families, our churches, our marriages, and our finances. He will bless us in everything we do.

Are you doing anything to keep the gospel’s pumps and pipes in good working order? Put God first in your giving this Christmas. It will be a gift that keeps on giving — long after the holiday has ended.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder