I am sure many of you can relate to this scenario. You’re out and about getting errands done on a Sunday when your stomach reminds you that it’s lunchtime and you need to eat. You say, “Let’s go to Chick–fil–A. It’s just around the corner, and their salads are fantastic.” So, you make the drive over, pull into the parking lot, and suddenly remember, they’re not open on Sundays! Waaah, waaah, waaah, waaaaaaha.
What’s up with that? Well, Chick-fil-A is living out the principle of firsts. Since day one, founder Truett Cathy and his brother, Ben, decided to close their restaurants on Sundays.
Closing business on one of the biggest sales days of the week doesn’t seem like a wise decision. This is supported by business experts who estimate Chick-fil-A loses close to $1 billion per year by not opening on Sundays. That’s a lot of money! However, even though the franchise closes its doors for one day, it makes just as much money as its competitors do in seven full days.
How is this possible? Truett Cathy wrote in his book Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, “I believe God honors our decision and sets before us unexpected opportunities to do greater work for Him because of our loyalty.”
They experience GOD’S BEST because they give him their FIRST. In this example, Cathy set aside the first day of his week for God. I don’t know about you but taking a day of rest is hard to do. We all have so much to accomplish and, seemingly, so little time, but God invites us to trust him and honor him by giving him our first day.
8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.
Cathy also experienced God’s best because he trusted that God would provide financially. Undoubtedly, he was aware of the money he was giving up by closing on Sundays, but he chose to honor God anyway.
We are also invited to trust God with our finances. Not just by giving up potential income but also by how we manage the money we do have. The basic truth is we can do six things with our money.
- Spend it
- Save/Invest it
- Pay down debt
- Pay taxes
- Give it away
- Return it to God
The only thing that determines the order of that list is what’s most important to you. For many, the order reflects a “me first” attitude and places God somewhere down the list. God doesn’t want to be last on our list, though—or even second. He desires to be first in our lives, and first is right where he should be.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (NIV)
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
“One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy.”
Putting God first in our lives is not the road to our rewards—it is the reward. And the blessings we receive in turn are immeasurable.
Do you find it hard to find a day of rest in your week? Why?
If you give your firsts, do you believe that God will bless the rest? Why or why not?
Over a three‐day period this week, keep a journal of how you spend your time, hour by hour. Afterwards, evaluate what the use of your time tells you about your priorities? How should you reorder your days to place God first?
Use of our time and money is evidence of our true priorities, regardless of the words we say. In your estimation, over a single pay period, what percentage of your income do you spend, save, use to repay debts, use to pay taxes, give away, and return to God? This week, break down your spending from your past paycheck. How did your estimates line up with reality? What changes do you need to make in your budget to place God first?
21 Days of Prayer:
Day 10 Focus – Dependence on Him (Psalms 121:1-2)
Dear Lord, when things become difficult, I know you walk beside me. You will cross the desert with me and weather any storm with me. When things become unbearable, I know you will carry me to the other side. Today, I declare my dependence on you. Amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
Check out the Latest LivingItOut Podcast
The LivingItOut Podcast is released every Wednesday morning. It discusses key takeaways and principles from the weekend message. Listen to the weekly podcast in your car, during your lunch break, or any other time that works for you. You can find the latest podcast here.
Leave a Comment?
We would love to hear how the LivingItOut is making a difference in your life. Let us know how today’s post inspired, challenged, or encouraged you by leaving a comment here.
Want to be a part of the LivingItOut team?
We are always looking for people who are passionate about writing and proofing to serve on the LivingItOut team. If you are interested, email LIO@cedarcreek.tv today!