Last Sunday we talked about tithing - the responsibility of every Christian to give a tenth of their income to God. Our text was a hard one: Malachi 3:6-12.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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 there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)
It's a tough thing to give a tenth to God - everyone struggles with money, and to give such a big amount to God seems like a big load. But the verse comes with a promise, as God always does -- He won't leave us alone. This isn't a time to struggle and add pain to pain. Instead, when we're faithful to God, He'll be faithful to us, and much more.
As the saying goes: when you give to God, you always get more in return!
This is all theology though, and most of it is from the Old Testament. What about now? Does God still require a tithe from us? And will He really hold us up when times are hard? Does He reward our faithfulness?
The answer is a resounding yes! We had several members of the congregation come forward and share about a time when things were really hard, but they clung to God - and God blessed them beyond imagining. With financial help, with helping their children, or their health, or their struggles with addiction - God has no limits!
And God is always faithful. The only question is - are we?