Mrs. Baughman was a Sunday School class teacher in my 6th grade class.
One morning she brought a pan of brownies to our class.
As the goodies sat tantalizingly over by her chair she gave each child a slip of paper marked with a household expense: house payment, phone bill, credit card bill, entertainment, and so forth. My slip had car payment on it.
Before long, Mrs. Baughman picked up the tray of fresh brownies and began naming the expenses named on the papers. As we gave her our expense slips, she redeemed each one for a brownie from the pan.
Finally, the last brownie had disappeared. But one boy named Donald still held his unredeemed slip.
"God!" called Mrs. Baughman. Donald came forward, hoping the teacher had one more brownie hidden somewhere.
With a knife, Mrs. Baughman scraped the crumbs from the bottom of the pan into Donald's napkin.
He got a pretty raw deal, I thought - just the crumbs.
"The brownies represent your money," the teacher explained to us.
"If you don't give God his share right away, he probably won't get anything at all except maybe the crumbs."
We never forgot that illustration from our 6th grade Sunday School class. It was the day my friend Donald got only brownie scrapings, and I learned that God should have 1st rights to everything I have.
In the years since, I have struggled with giving and priorities, but whenever I recall that "crummy Sunday morning lesson", I know who must come first in my life.