Mugging God at Church
Download mp3 audio
"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 to giving.
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?
Thank you for reading the free preview of this
sermon. The full
manuscript is available to Premium
use these resources in their ministry.