I once heard a comedian confess that in his childhood, he and a friend would wrap double-stick tape around their fingers before the collection plate was passed on Sundays. They would make it look like they were placing something in the plate, when they were actually taking coins out. Any right-thinking person can see how deplorable such thievery is. We would never be guilty of such a terrible deed. Or, would we?
When the prophet Malachi delivered his scathing rebuke of God’s people, one sin to which he called attention was their stealing from God. “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions” (Mal. 3:8). Though the Law of Moses required the Jewish people to give to God ten percent of their crops and flocks for the support of the priests and Levites (Lev. 27:30-32; Deut. 14:22-29), the people in the days of Malachi had neglected that obligation. Ironically, their neglect of God and inordinate attention on themselves actually caused them to have less, not more. It hurt them more than it helped them. God told them, “You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you” (Mal. 3:9).
Healing from this curse could come in only one way: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Mal. 3:10).
Consider prayerfully your own giving. While the New Testament does not specifically obligate a ten-percent gift, Christians are obligated to give something of their earnings for the ongoing work of the church (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Our offerings should be purposeful, bountiful, and cheerfully given (2 Cor. 9:6-7). Do those terms describe your giving in 2021?
Because we are now in the last quarter of this year, our elders and deacons will soon begin the budgeting process for 2022. Let us all pray for them that their planning will be guided by wisdom. But let us not stop there. Let each of us take a close look at our own household budgets and see if we are offering God what honors and glorifies him. Will a man rob God? Tragically, some do. Will you?