Money – Give Generously!

There’s a topic that is hard to talk about – MONEY! If most of us are honest, we never seem to have enough, and we usually find ourselves wanting more of it.

Yesterday, my husband was showing me an area on Google, and we zoomed in to look at a friend’s house. The friend’s house was massive! For a fleeting moment, I admit that honestly, the sin of envy started to creep into my thoughts with, “Wow, I’m impressed!”, followed closely by “I wish that I could live there”. However, my thoughts soon turned to, “just imagine what good could be done by all that money” and “I wonder how much he is giving to God’s purposes”.

As a result, this morning I decided to devote my quiet time to the Book of Malachi. Malachi is the final word in the Old Testament, until Jesus is born 400 years later. It is set one hundred years after the Jewish exile in Babylon, and their temple and capital city had been rebuilt. Yet, the Israelites, who had returned to Jerusalem, were as evil and corrupt as their ancestors. They had corrupted the sacrificial system, hoarded their money and worshiped foreign gods.

The Israelites were still bringing their temple sacrifices to cover their sins, as they were commanded to do under the Mosaic Law, but they were doing it in a way that resembled “obligation” instead of “being devoted” to God. The Jews were suppose to be bringing the best of the herd, unblemished for their temple sacrifices. Instead they were bringing lame, diseased and blind animals and trying to get away with that practice.

Malachi is a book which plainly conveys that our sincerity in worshipping and being in awe of God is important. It’s not enough to just go through the motions, out of obligation! This includes our tithing of money.

Are you honouring God with your time and money? Does your calendar and check book reflect your devotion to God? Let’s talk about tithing, which is often times a taboo topic in church.

Throughout the Bible, we see consistency in 10% being the recommended tithe. Abraham presented a tenth of the war spots to Melchizedek, the king of Salem (Genesis 14:16-20). In the Old Testament, Jews brought 10% of their harvest to storehouse for the needy or in case of famine. We see in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” say the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Although it is true that tithing was talked about more in the Old Testament, Jesus did directly say that tithing should not be neglected. In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, Jesus said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices-mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law-justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the later, without neglecting the former.”

Did you catch that? Jesus affirms the practice of giving back a tithe to the church. Jesus also says in Matthew 6:24b, “You cannot serve both God and money” giving a warning about our devotion to money, rather than to God.

I love Larry Burkett’s wisdom concerning giving a tithe, “As best as I can tell, God never asked less than ten percent from anyone. But if that bothers someone, I can see no reason why they couldn’t give twice as much if they desired.” (How to Manage Your Money, 9/15/90, p. 3). In the New Testament Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give.” Whatever you decide to give as a tithe, should be done prayerfully with God. Should you give “after” or “before” tax? I’ll leave that up to you and God to decide, however I believe God will be most honoured by giving based upon your gross income.

Malachi concludes by announcing that God will send the prophet Elijah as a messenger to prepare the way for the Lord’s arrival and the salvation to follow (Malachi 3:1, 4:5). We now know that the prophet Elijah was referring to John the Baptist, who will appear in Matthew 11:7-14. Malachi goes on to warn of judgement that will come to “sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud labourers of their wages, who oppress the widows and fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me” (Malachi 3:5)

What is abundantly clear from Malachi is that we should give out of devotion to our loving, faithful God! All that we have in the bank is really His anyway. We are only giving back a small portion of what God has provided.

Let’s give generously to enable God’s purposes, and I’m convinced He will provide all that we ever need!