“Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (Malachi 3:8-12)
In one of the most well-known passages in Malachi, the prophet takes the people to task for ignoring God’s command to give. The tithing system began during the time of Moses (Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 14:22). The Levites received some of the tithe because they could not possess land of their own (Numbers 18:20-21). During Malachi’s day, the people were not giving tithes, so the Levites went to work to earn a living, thereby neglecting their God-given responsibilities to care for the Temple and for the service of worship. They may have feared losing what they had worked so hard to get, but in this they misjudged God.
Jesus said, “Give, and you will receive” (Luke 6:38). When we give, we must remember that the blessings God promises are not always material and may not be experienced completely here on earth, but we will certainly receive them in our future life with him.
Everything we have is from God; when we refuse to return to him a part of what he has given, we rob him. Yet when our resources are low, we fear we won’t have enough if we give. Ask God to give you courage to give and help you be creative in your giving—to explore different ways of giving (time, talents, etc.).