Prove the TitheMalachi 3:6-12
How the Church Works
J. Josh Smith
January 11, 2015
In 2015 we are challenging all our members to “prove the tithe.” We want everybody to commit to giving at least 10% of their family’s income to the local church. We will begin on February 1, which will be “Prove the Tithe” Sunday.
Why are we putting such an emphasis on giving this year? It is NOT because we are concerned about the church budget in 2015. In fact, our concern is not primarily about money at all. We are concerned with your giving because where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Your money is a spiritual issue. We may not be your financial advisors, but we are your pastors who have a responsibility to shepherd your heart; therefore, we must talk about giving.
Malachi 3:6-12 provides four principles on giving. While it is true that the tithe spoken of in Malachi 3 was a part of the civil law of Israel, which Christians no longer live under, there are principles on giving in this passage that apply to New Testament Christians. We see each of these principles reaffirmed in the New Testament. The four principles provide four reasons why every member should make giving a priority in 2015.
First, we should make giving a priority this year to cultivate a heart for God. The Lord calls His people to “return” to Him in Malachi by giving financially. There is a connection between your heart and your treasure. Your heart will always follow your treasure. God knows that you will always care about the things in which you invest. When you invest your money into the work of God, you are cultivating your heart to love God more than anything else. A lack of giving always points to a spiritual problem. God does not need your money, but He is zealous for your heart.
Second, we should make giving a priority this year to be a faithful steward of God. The Israelites are accused of “robbing” God in 3:8 because they were failing to tithe. The implication is that all our money actually belongs to God. God entrusts us with financial resources to manage for the sake of His Kingdom. This has two implications: (1) We are guilty of “robbing” God when we refuse to give, and (2) the money we have left over after we give also belongs to God. How are you doing at managing God’s investment?
Third, we should make giving a priority this year in order to invest in the work of God. The primary way in which God supports His work is through the giving of His people. This means that the members of MBBC must not subtract additional giving they participate in (e.g. supporting missionaries, other ministries, or giving to the needy, etc.) from their tithe to the local church. God probably will call you to give to other individuals and entities, but you must make giving to the local church primary since it is through the church primarily that God is fulfilling His mission.
Finally, we should make giving a priority this year to receive the blessing of God. God blesses those who give by faith. This does not mean that everybody who gives financially will become rich. While there are times in which God’s blessing is financial, oftentimes His blessing is spiritual, which is a blessing that brings a type of satisfaction that money could never offer.
Proving the tithe, for you, may mean tithing consistently for the first time ever. For some, it will be a challenge to increase the percentage of their income in which they are giving. Wherever you are, grow in the grace of giving. Take the next step this year. Let’s prove the tithe on February 1 and then throughout the rest of the year and grow to love God more than ever before!
Faith, Faithfulness, Finances, Giving, Greed, Prayer, Sacrifice, Tithing, Trust