Plug in! Give up your money
This week we are exploring PLUGGING IN by the giving of our money. God has placed a call on our lives to get involved in what He is doing especially through the local church. He has a plan that He is bringing to pass, and wants His people to be involved; He considers this worship.
The Bible demonstrates that how we handle our money is a clear indication of the extent to which we are PLUGGED-INTO God. "...where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 NIV.
What we invest ourselves in, earns the affection of our heart, because when we are financially invested, we become emotionally committed.
The book of Malachi illustrates how the Israelites had turned their backs on God, and the whole nation perished."Ever since the time of your ancestors, you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them ..." Malachi 3:7 NIV. The people responded, "What must we do to return to you?" The Lord replied: "Will a man rob God? ... "Malachi 3:8 NIV. How the Israelites handled their money was a barometer of their love and commitment to God. As we examine this passage, let's consider three entities that are affected by the type of robbery that the prophet Malachi talks about.
I. Robbing God
We rob God, when we deny him what is rightfully his, including our tithe. The tithe is defined as 1/10, or 10 per cent, of our income. The truth is that all of it is God's to begin with. He allows us to have the income, and it is our act of thankfulness that we give back to him 10 per cent of what he gave to us. God levels a very serious charge in verse 8. He asserts that the Israelites were robbing him by withholding tithes and offerings."You are under a curse the whole nation of you because you are robbing me." What was happening to them was a matter of the consequence of their actions. The consequence of not following God's prescription is that we open our lives to the hand of the enemy and he stops the blessing of God in our lives.
II. Robbing the Church
God is God; He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He doesn't need our money to be God, but God want us to invest in the Church. PLUG-IN ... why? The Church is God's vehicle to fulfill His mission and mandate on the earth. In order to fulfil the mission of the Church, there has to be some financing behind it."Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house."God's intention is that His people will support His mission.
Jesus has charged the church to go into all the world and preach the Good News. Part of our duty, in addition to supporting the concerns of the local church, is to provide for missions and support the work of spreading the Good News around the world.
The storehouse is the Church, the centre of God's activity and where activities in the community originated. At the time Malachi wrote this, it was the Temple. Now, it is the Church. The people to whom Malachi was talking were mired in desperate poverty, and yet they were challenged to rise above that and provide for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Poverty doesn't determine giving.
III. Robbing ourselves
By withholding our tithe, we not only rob God and the Church, we also rob ourselves. We rob ourselves of the blessings that God pours out on those who are faithful to him. That doesn't mean we give for the sole reason of getting.
We can't buy off God. And yet God does promise to supply the needs of his people who obey his commands. If we value our money and possessions more than we value our relationship with God, then our relationship with God will naturally suffer. The issue of tithing really isn't about money; it's about commitment to God.
Verses 10 to 11 says, "... 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 ..."God wants us to put him to the test in this area and He also promises to be faithful to those who are faithful to him.
"Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap ..." Luke 6:38 NLT.
If you faithfully and cheerfully tithe, God will supply what you need.He promises to be faithful to those who are faithful to Him. Adrian Rogers says"... a faith that hasn't reached your wallet, probably hasn't reached your heart."
If we realise that God owns all that we have, then we will gratefully give to him out of a heart of love. So don't give because you have to ... give because you want to.