Get your hands in the air! Now give me your money!
The victim was God. Offended listeners protested, “How are we robbing you?” He explained.
“In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
Believers differ on whether or not they should give God a tenth (tithe) of their income since the instructions originated in the Old Testament for people living under the Old Covenant. And yet, shouldn’t those liberated from the law who live under the full umbrella of redeeming grace do better than their lawkeeping tithing forebears? A tenth is a better place to launch from, than land.
But instead of debating that, let’s ask ourselves, “Am I robbing God? Am I giving to the Lord (church, mission, needs around me) at the level I believe He’s asked of me? Or not?”
The people in Malachi were giving God something, but not the whole tithe He’d asked for. The curse that plagues stingy givers is not some ethereal, spiritual idea of God’s displeasure, it’s very practical. Their fields were plagued (pun intended) with insects and horrible harvests. By his grace God sometimes permits disobedient followers to flourish but that’s a grace of exception, not His common practice when people live in willful disobedience. The prosperity gospel is mostly wrong, but there’s a sliver of truth in its quid pro quo argument: …whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2 Cor.9:6). No Christian should be surprised when plagued by costly setbacks or the inability to make financial progress when he or she could–but neglects to give God what’s rightly His.
Someone said “Keystone doesn’t need my money.” That’s true but only partly. Even though we’re living under a spending freeze and ministry team leaders can’t do what they need to, if needed God can turn horse manure into money (for anyone who can make children from stones [Luke 3:8], making money is child’s play). But He has ordained that in most cases Christians give theirs to make ministry happen rather than provide it miraculously. It’s not only good for Him, it’s good for them; disciples who give generously get to rely more on Him for help and their faith is strengthened.
Are you under a curse? If your giving lacks, any lack of having shouldn’t be a surprise. What will you do about it? Seriously, put the gun away. Start giving and stop taking. Don’t wait another week to start writing checks. It’s never too soon to break the curse.