Money Matters

OPENING PRAYER

 

Generous God, how can I hold back from You who so freely gave all? Help me to give like You.

 

Read: MALACHI 3:6-18

[6] “I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. [7] 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?’ [8] “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. [9] You are under a curse-your whole nation-because you are robbing me. [10] 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. [11] 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. [12] “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty. [13] “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ [14] “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? [15]But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.'” [16] Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.[17] “On the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. [18] And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. 

 

Reflect: HOW DOES GOD PROMISE TO RESPOND IF WE GIVE AS HE CALLS?

Sadly, “robbing God” is no new phenomenon (8,9). My friend and colleague, Ian Coffey, coined a clever title for his book on giving (or the lack of it!): Pennies for Heaven. Naturally, we have to be careful in drawing a straight line from Old Testament “tithes” (one tenth of one’s income given for the work of God) to our day. Nevertheless, the enduring principle of honoring the Lord with our money, and relying on his promises to bless us in return (10–12), is not confined to the Old Testament but reaffirmed in the New Testament for every “cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Grace should compel us to give more generously, not less than the law.Israel’s financial robbery of God was an index of something more sinister. Israel had disobeyed God’s Word, saying some harsh things against him (7,13). They concluded that following the Lord was futile since those who did not, and challenged God, seemed to prosper (14,15). Their mistake was in forgetting that God does not change (6), so there is a vast difference between serving the Lord or not (18). For he will ultimately reward those who honor him in the most remarkable fashion: they will become God’s “treasured possession” (17), his “jewels” (17, KJV).

 

APPLY

Before you give, give yourself to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:5). Then it will be natural to give money, resources and all else.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, thank You that You made Yourself poor that I might become rich. Help me to walk in kind.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider