Friday, November 18, 2016
Giving Our Very Best
Mal. 3:8 Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, “How are we robbing you?” In your tithes and offerings! 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me—the whole nation of you! 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. 11 I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the LORD of hosts. 12 Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.
I”m not sure that the people would have thought that they were robbing God. More than likely they felt that their resources were stretched beyond their capacity and so they calculated what they thought they could give to God. The problem was that God had a plan, and that was for his house to be cared for and supported by the people. If God would become the priority in their lives; if they would care for the things of God first, then the house of God would not suffer.
God places a challenge before the people. They are to test the LORD in this — that by caring for God first, then God will care for them. The LORD tells them that their entire land will become a place of delight because they have given God their very best.
Tithing seems to be a shrinking spiritual discipline. Many have decided that tithing to the church is no longer important, but it’s okay to give to a number of different causes. The problem with this is that we no longer live in faithful obedience to God’s request to us, but we place ourselves in charge. We decide what to give to and what not to give to. This was not God’s intent. God’s intent was that the tithe, the 10% was to be given into the storehouse, the church. If all of those who attend church would tithe into the church, the circumstances of the day would be much different. The poor could be fed. Education would be supported. Medical needs would be cared for. Pastors wouldn’t have to work part-time jobs on the side.
We don’t have a financial problem as much as we have an obedience problem. God understood this and it was at the heart of the concern for the Israelites, and it’s not so different today. We don’t want to believe that we are robbing God if we don’t tithe into the church. Our personal financial struggles are real, but often because we have over-extended ourselves. We have embraced a lifestyle that is beyond our means and so we have to spend money to keep up. There isn’t enough left for God.
The statistics on tithing are pretty poor these days and at the same time, Christianity seems to be in decline. Is there a connection between the two? What would happen if God’s people would recommit themselves to giving the very best that they have to God. It’s painful to be told that we are robbing God, but the prophet made it pretty clear. Giving with hearts filled with generosity will make a difference and the promise is a land of delight. Obedience means giving God our very best and then resting in the LORD.
Lord, thank you for the gentle reminders. May I give faithfully and trust you in all things. Amen.