One of the first budget categories financial counselors tell their clients to identify is “discretionary spending.” Whether you are overseeing personal, business, corporate, or ministry expenses, you need to know what is discretionary and what is essential. (The electric bill is essential. Eating out is not.)

Our problem as Americans, however, seems to be a mis-definition of “discretionary.” In an economic recession, Americans this month will spend $7 billion on Halloween.

$7 billion on, of all holidays, Halloween.

Ultimately, what we see as “discretionary spending” boils down to discretionary priorities. We spend our money on what we want.

iPhones, computer games, gadgets—these don’t seem to be discretionary spending to many. They are discretionary priorities—rated high in our discretion.

But here’s the thing when it comes to giving to the Lord’s work. Giving is just not a discretionary line item. It is the top priority for faith-filled children of God who believe His promises.

He said,  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Literally, He promised if we make giving first, He will take care of the essential needs of our budgets.

This is true for individuals, and it is true for churches. Individuals who give to God’s work find they can never out give God. Biblical Baptist churches who maintain a priority on giving to missions find that God blesses their other ministries.

Making giving a discretionary priority is an indication that we have discretionary faith—we choose which of God’s promises we remember and claim.

God’s promises for giving are as sure as ever. And best of all, He is not discretionary in matters of whom or in what time periods He keeps His promises. He provides for all who give.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:19

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