Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
This is a famous verse that I was taught as a child, both as direct memorization and in at least two musical settings. It is dearly loved by church leaders because they like to receive money! However, the point isn’t the getting, it’s the giving. As I am reminded frequently, God is never at a loss for anything; we can’t give Him anything material that He didn’t create in the first place. God’s rules for mankind aren’t to satisfy His perverse whims, they are to help us line up with the way the universe is created and operates. The analogy of highway speed limits is very appropriate, I think. It’s not that the police don’t want you to get from point A to point B, it’s that they want you, and the other people on the road, to do so safely. Granted, the analogy does break down when you have speed traps that are largely to fill the coffers of a police department with speeding fines, but the original principal is driving safety. When the automobile was invented, it quickly became evident that some people didn’t have enough awareness of the laws of physics, or simple common sense, not to be a menace to themselves and other people on the road. Hence, speed limits. God knows the sort of behavior that will bring us into close fellowship with Him, providing the greatest peace and joy and satisfaction, so He has given us instructions to encourage such behavior. Here He is stating clearly that tithing is one of those behaviors that will bring great blessing to us. Sadly, some people have tried to use church offerings as a “money machine” for their own pleasure, and that has distorted the picture badly in the hearts and minds of many. Faithful stewardship is demanded of Church leadership, but the giving itself is for the benefit of those doing the giving, rather than those who are the immediate recipients.
I was obviously taught to tithe from a young age, giving 10 yen of my 100 yen allowance, back when the exchange rate was $1=360 yen. I got away from that in college, if I recall correctly, and didn’t really get back to it until we were expecting our second child. We went through some very lean times in that interval, because I wasn’t operating on the principle expressed in this verse. Since then our every need has been met, though not always in the way our imagination or appetite would have liked. As a pastor I seek to help others get in line with God’s plan of provision, but I get a lot of disbelief and resistance. It would be much easier to teach on this in other churches where it wouldn’t be seen as trying to boost my bottom line! I find that people seem to have more struggles with faith over finances than perhaps any other area. That’s probably why Jesus talked more about money than He did about heaven and hell combined! I’m not to avoid the subject, but am to speak the truth in love and allow the Holy Spirit to convict those who are operating outside of God’s plan.
Father, thank You for this Word this morning. Thank You for Your faithfulness to us, despite our small numbers. It has been painful to me to see how some people have refused to trust You even as You were pouring blessings out on us. Keep me from taking such things personally. Help me rather release each person and each situation to You, so that the plans of the enemy may be defeated and Your will done, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!