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. The same is true of salvation, and salvation’s delivery system is the local church. 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’s actually the best thing we can do with our money. When we put God first, He will put us first. He’ll bless our families; He’ll bless our churches; He’ll bless our marriages; He’ll bless our finances; He’ll 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