“You shall not steal.”
Exodus 20:15 (NIV)
Have you ever had anything stolen from you? It leaves you feeling violated, vulnerable and angry. Almost immediately you’re asking yourself, “How could they do it? It wasn’t theirs to take! I would never take something that wasn’t mine!” God values honesty and gave us a simple command that would protect our property and integrity if we followed it. Yet, this command is probably one of the most violated commands among Christ followers today. Almost immediately, you may respond, “not me!” “I’m not a thief.” Before you go there, let’s read what God says through a Prophet named Malachi to those who called themselves God’s chosen people.
“Ever since the time of your forefathers 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?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse–the whole nation of you–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 you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:7-10 (NIV)
Maybe you never considered neglecting to give back to God as robbing God. The truth is everything we have we have received from His hand! Not out of His own need, but for our benefit, God designed the tithe (a tenth or 10%) and offerings of the Old and New Testaments. Giving back to God a portion of what He has blessed us with expresses our gratitude and dependence on Him just as taking a day off for the Sabbath. It’s the best way to put God first in our finances. When we withhold our tithes and offerings God says we are robbing Him! None of us would consider stealing from our church when we go to worship. Yet, when we go and withhold from God what is rightfully His, we are stealing from God. It’s not the value of the money we are stealing from God. We are robbing God of our hearts. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” God does not want our money. He wants what it represents – our hearts!
When you give God all your heart, you won’t have a problem giving Him of your tithes and offerings. When the heart is right, the hand is swift to obey because the motivation is love. We give because He first gave to us. And here’s the good news. You can never out give God! Just try it and see the blessing God will pour out from heaven in your life! Start today.