| Click Now to Order
Mugging God at Church
"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, 'How have
we robbed Thee?' In tithes and offerings.  'You are cursed with a curse,
for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!  Bring the whole tithe
into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me
now in this,' says the Lord of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows
of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.  Then
I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it may not destroy the fruits
of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,' says the
Lord of hosts.  'And all the nations will call you blessed, for you
shall be a delightful land,' says the Lord of hosts."
It makes perfect sense to me. Why would these people tithe? These were
the same people who denied that God loved them. They even thought that
He blessed evil people while neglecting them. Their priests certainly weren't
good role models. They offered inferior sacrifices to God, practicing a
"minimalist" religion. And the people didn't take the covenants with one
another seriously, (as evidenced by their cavalier attitude toward marriage
and divorce), why would they be concerned with the things of God? These
were complacent people who by their actions and attitudes were saying that
spiritual things were less real and less important than material things.
So why would they tithe?
It isn't that they weren't giving. I'm sure they were, it was that they
weren't tithing. There's a difference. Look at verse 10. God said. "Bring
the WHOLE tithe." Most believers give something, but that doesn't mean
they are tithing.
Remember God's reaction to the priests who were sacrificing blind and
crippled lambs. "Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will
spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be
taken away with it." (Malachi 2:3 NAB) What a vivid picture. God spreading
the refuse, created by the sacrificial lambs, on the faces of the priests
who make the sacrifices. It wasn't that the priests weren't making sacrifices,
it is that they were making sacrifices that didn't please God. God's people
were giving. They just weren't giving their WHOLE tithe-they weren't giving
a sacrifice that pleased God, and it angered Him.
How is your giving? Do you give your WHOLE tithe?
Many Christians practice "minimalist" giving, something that is alarming
church leaders in Europe because of the introduction of the Euro, the first
common coinage in Europe since the Roman Empire. In France, church officials
suspect donation will decrease because the most common donation is a 10-franc
coin. Officials are concerned that many will drop in a similarly sized
Euro instead. The Euro is worth about a third less, meaning those who want
to maintain the same level of giving need to drop in two or three coins
instead of one. In Ireland, officials say they are bracing for a slump
of about 20 percent. Again, the problem stems from simple math. The Euro
is worth about 20 percent less than the common one-punt coin generally
donated by Irish believers. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
If these people were tithers, it wouldn't be an issue. They'd move the
decimal point to the left one place and give 10% of their income. But because
they are "minimalist" givers, their church leaders are concerned since
the Euro is worth less than the equivalent sized coin the people are used
Are you a "minimalist" giver? Or do you bring your "WHOLE" tithe?
I don't know about you personally, but I do know a little something
about people's giving habits. In 2000 the average non-churchgoer gave 1.3%
of their income to charity. How much do you think the average churchgoer
gave? Another way to ask that question, is how much difference does faith
really make in how generous a person is? The answer: 2.3%. Times haven't
changed since Malachi's day have they? Faith makes a 1% difference is a
person's generosity. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
According to Christian pollster George Barna, in 1999 16% of born again
Christians gave nothing to their church, and only 8% gave a full tithe.
The other 76% gave something, but it wasn't a full tithe. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Why do you think God is so harsh with the people by calling them thieves?
I mean, doesn't the money belong to them? Shouldn't God be grateful that
they are giving anything instead of angry that they aren't giving enough?
What we do with money speaks volumes about what we value. In a recent
article for NEWSWEEK, Jane Bryant Quinn gave seven tips for financial health.
They included things like lower your spending, get out of debt and have
an emergency fund on hand-basic money management principles. Exactly what
I'd expect to read in an article like this. But one thing she wrote jumped
off the page when I read it. It was the kind of thing I'd expect a preacher
to say, she wrote, "What you do with your money shows where your values
What would an audit of your checkbook show about what you really value
Tim Keller said, "You will always give effortlessly to that which is
your salvation, to those things that give your life meaning. If Jesus is
the one who saved you, your money flows easily into His work, His people,
His causes. If, however, your real religion is your appearance, or your
social status, or personal comfort, or pleasure, your money flows most
easily into those items and symbols." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
But really, the issue isn't just do we value God and His Kingdom work,
it is do we understand that the money really doesn't belong to us-it is
His. Actually, that's the critical issue. If you believe it is your money,
you'd have the right to give what you think God deserves, but if you know
it is His, then you will do with it what He tells you to do with it. The
scripture teaches that "The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, The
world, and those who dwell in it." (Psalm 24:1 NASB)
Do you remember the uproar caused by Americans when they heard the American
Red Cross wasn't planning on using all of the $547 million dollars we donated
to aid the victims of September 11?
Siebel Systems in San Mateo, CA responded to the news by asking for
the $3.2 million dollars they donated back. When the local Red Cross officials
promised it would be used for the purpose it was donated, Siebels let them
keep the money. (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
The Red Cross has a responsibility to use the money the way the donors
intended, and are doing so now. In the same way, God has a right to insist
that we use the money He's provided us with in the way He's intended. After
all, the money isn't ours, ultimately, it belongs to Him. We are just His
stewards, using it according to His will.
Do you believe that everything you have comes from a gracious God? Do
you value Him? If so, then do as He says and donate the WHOLE tithe. Because
I believe God is a gracious God who will provide for my needs and because
I value Him and His work, I bring my WHOLE tithe and give it to the Lord.
What will happen if you do give the WHOLE tithe?
First, verse 10 indicates that it will fund His work. It pays for buildings
we use for His work, and literature we study. We use the tithe to pay salaries
and provide food for the hungry and resources for the mission field. When
you give the WHOLE tithe, you know the money you give is going to a good
cause. It helps change the world.
But there's more. God also promises in verse 10 that He will open up
the windows of heaven and pour His blessings down upon you. The last time
He opened up heaven's windows, the earth was filled with water and Noah
took a ride on the ark, this time, He plans on flooding you with his blessings.
One more thing He promises-He will rebuke the devourer in your life.
Giving the WHOLE tithe, defeats stinginess and the feeling that you can
never have enough or get enough. It gets you off the consumer treadmill
and places you on a higher spiritual plane.
God calls those who don't tithe, robbers. They rob resources from God's
work, blessings from their own lives and they live their lives with the
"devourer" nipping at their heels. They never have enough, not because
they don't make enough, but because they don't give enough.
How will you respond to God's command to tithe? Will you be one of the
16% who give nothing? Will you be one of the 76% that give something? Or
will you be one of the 8% who are obedient to God?