Look at your spending habits, do a budget. Are you spending more on your car than you are giving to the Lord? Which is more important? Would you go out and spend $50 - $100 on a meal for your family, but gripe about having to bring $5 worth of food for the church fellowship meal? Do you think nothing of dropping $100 a month on cable, but complain that a $50 Bible that will last several years is too expensive? Do you find yourself buying things for yourself, but being stingy toward your spouse or children? (Gun, rod, HDTV, etc. ‘no problem’ - Dress, shoes, purse, etc. / doll, ball, toy, book, school trip, etc. ‘we can’t waste that much money’) Math doesn’t lie. What are your real priorities? What you are willing to sacrifice tells the truth about your allegiances.
Look at your time-spending habits. How was time spent in the past week or month? It might surprise you how little was actually spent on the things you claim to value most. Because of the nature of the human body we must spend a large amount of time sleeping each day. There is also a necessity for us to work to provide for our physical bodies and our families. If we look at a week there are 168 hours. When we start to categorize that time we have a problem. We often claim that we don’t have time for . . ., but we seem to have time for other things. Consider that IF we slept 8 hours a day, that leaves 112 hours. If we work even a 50 hour week and have a 2 hour commute 6 days a week, that leaves us 50 hours. That is more than 2 whole days or more than 7 hours a day for the whole week. What are we doing with that much time? I know that there is meal preparation and eating, shopping, personal hygiene concerns, other errands, etc., etc., etc. Consider, however, that many do not sleep 8 hours or spend 62 hours working leaving even less of an excuse.
Under Moses’ Law the Jews were required to tithe their increase, meaning whatever profit they made they gave a tenth to God. We are not under that covenant, we have a better one. I wonder why we think it should be cheaper. Usually when something is better we expect it to be more expensive. Jesus said that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, who diligently gave even the herbs from their gardens. But suppose we applied the tithe concept to our money and time. Where do we fall? Do you give God $10 out of every $100 you make? $5? $1? $15? Do you give of all that you prospered, or only what you take home after taxes, insurance, retirement, etc. have already been taken out? You have probably considered this with regard to money before, but what about with time. We sometimes think that 4 hours a week at church and praying at meals makes someone really righteous, but consider that if we were to give 10% of our time that would be nearly 17 hours a week. How do you rate on that scale? I don’t mean that we should sit at church for 17 hours, instead that we should be spending time outside of corporate worship. Interestingly enough, one study by Neilsen the average person in the U.S. watches over 4 hours of TV each day, almost 36 hours a week. That is somewhat bloated by the fact that those over 65 average nearly 49 hours a week. I should think it would not be too hard to carve a third of those hours out for something of eternal value to replace that of no real value.
Be honest with yourself! What is really most important to you? If it is not what it should be change.