Tithe is not an option but a privilege
Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts (Mal 3:10)
Malachi is the last of the Minor Prophets. The meaning of the word Malachi is “God’s messenger”. Nothing is known of the biography of the author. However the book of the Malachi was written to correct the lax religious and social behaviour of the Israelites. The prophet accuses his audience of failing to respect God as God deserves. One way in which this disrespect is made manifest is through the substandard sacrifices which Malachi claims are being offered by the priests and they neglected to offer their full tithe to God. Malachi 3: 7 is the theme of the book “return to me and I will return to you” says the Lord of Hosts. The Lord here gives His people another chance to turn from their ways. In spite of their sinfulness the Lord demonstrates His unmerited, free grace.
The key point here is tithing. Their giving was deplorable, not only were they giving defective gifts and animals, the blind and the lame and the blemished but they were actually not giving that they ought to give. Harrington C. Lees says” the most sensitive part of civilised man is his pocket, and one of the fiercest fights a preacher has to wage is when his preaching touches the pockets of his hearers”. Malachi comes and touches their pockets “you have robbed me” God says. Malachi touches their pockets because he wants to make their repentance costly, and he wants to make their repentance costly because he wants their repentance to be genuine. Hence if our repentance doesn’t cost us anything it’s worth nothing.
There are three points of view with regard to giving. One view says, that it is all mine. I worked for it, I earned it, I deserve it, I can do with it what I want to and when offering bag goes by, I can give if I want to, but I don’t have to. Another thought says that the tithe belongs to God and the rest is mine. In obedience I give Him 10% and I will do what I want to do with the rest. The third view is that it all belongs to God- the tithe and the rest. I returned to Him what He has commanded and He entrusts me with the rest of His money. Just because I returned the tithe, that doesn’t give me the right to do whatever I want with the rest of it. I still have to pray and be a good steward of all His money. First two thoughts say I am the owner and I share it with God, but the third view says it is all God’s and He shares with me. When we survey through the scripture about tithe we see (1). Abraham commenced it Gen: 14:17-20(2) Jacob continued it Gen: 28:22 (3) Moses commanded it Lev 27:30-32 (4) Malachi confirmed it Mal 3:10 (5) Jesus commended it Mt 23:23. Tithing is a basic foundation of Christian spirituality.
Prayer: O Lord the source of all blessings, thank you for the immeasurable gifts. Continue to inspire me in my giving and enable me to trust in your all sufficiency. Amen.
Thought for the Day: “your giving is a barometer of your spiritual health”.
Rev. K. P. Johnson., Mar Thoma Church, Bristol. U.K.