"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. Malachi 3:8-12
I remember talking to a financial advisor one time about our retirement, the kids' college choices in the future, and our present-day financial situation. We were looking for ways to save money and use it wisely at the time so that our future would be brighter. One of the questions the financial advisor asked was this: "Why do you give this amount to the church?" Our response was this: "That is our tithe to the church. We give back to God what He freely gives us." The advice that we were given was to either take that money and use it elsewhere or at least cut back on how much we were giving to the church, so that we could invest it in something that would give us a return. To many people that advice may make sense or sound really good, but to a Christ follower it is nonsense! As Christ followers, we have surrendered our lives to God to follow Jesus Christ. In Luke 9:23, Jesus clearly stated what that means: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." In Deuteronomy 6:4-5, we find what God desires from us: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."
From a worldly perspective, the Bible seems to filled with impossibilities. In Matthew 10, we read that if you really want life you first have to lose it. In Matthew 20, we read that if you want to become great then you have to become a servant. And in 1 Peter 5, we read that if you want to be exalted then you must first humble yourself. Throughout the Bible we see men and women walking by faith, not by sight, in many areas of their lives. The worldly perspective is dangerous, especially for Christ followers. If we are not careful, we can be persuaded to use worldly perspective in certain areas of our lives, including financially. As Christ followers, we believe and we know that everything we have comes from God (Romans 11:36 and James 1:17). Throughout the Old and New Testaments, we read about the tithes and the offerings that are given to God by His children. Christ followers give generously and cheerfully (Romans 12:3-8 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-9). I know that today is financially difficult for many people. We are struggling to pay our bills. We are struggling to provide for our children...food, clothes, medicine, etc. It may seem that the best thing to do for the family is to skip the tithe or to withhold the offering. However, that is not what Scripture says. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." It is never a good idea to withhold from God. Tithing and offering is a step of faith for the Christ follower. It is an act of worship and gratitude for the Christ follower. It is also a command from God. Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." And this command from God also comes with a promise. Malachi 3:10-11 continues, "'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've heard it said before that since God owns it all anyway, you can trust Him with it all. I've even heard it said that God can take you and your 90 percent further than you and your 100 percent without Him will ever go! So whether you are financially sound right now or financially struggling, your tithes and offerings should not change. Your attitude in tithes and offerings should not change either. Give to God what rightfully belongs to Him. Give to God generously and cheerfully. Give to God and see what He does with the gift and the giver:)