(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Tim Keller entitled, Counterfeit Gods.
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
There’s no easy way to put this. So let me be blunt with two things:
- Stop robbing God.
- Stop robbing yourself.
What am I talking about? How do we rob God? Rob ourselves?
You reader would not be the first that needed to hear this message. Because, remember, if everything I have is the Lord’s and I start asking, “God how do YOU want me to manage your stuff?” we need to be open to God’s response.
The truth is, it is easy to do what I want with money, but God convicts us and challenges us to do it his way. God sent the prophet Malachi 400 years before Christ to convict God’s people of robbery and share God’s promise. Honestly we still need the conviction and encouragement today.
Here’s how we rob God. (Malachi 3:8-10)
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.
People were robbing God by NOT managing his wealth the way HE desired. They were not giving ten percent as he directed and they were not giving special gifts and offerings. Their hearts loved money more than God and as a result they were keeping too much for themselves. Could the same be said of you?
The tithe is the first 10% of one’s income. God directed this to be given to his “house.” For some that was the temple, for most their local synagogue. The local church today is the recipient of our tithes to manage for the benefit of God’s kingdom work. Do you give 10%? Figure it out. What percentage of your weekly/monthly income do you give to the Lord? For many its far short of 10%. I’m sure most make more than $200 a week (a weekly gift of $20). God made it easy. Take your paycheck and drop the last number. Move the decimal one place to the left and that is your gift. Make $1235.45 a week? Your weekly offering is $123.54. It’s that simple…mathematically. It’s tough spiritually. But that’s the challenge.
Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty,
Our financial giving is a test of our hearts. Do we TRUST that God will provide for us on 90% of what we make? Do we TRUST that we can give 10% even when it seems like finances are tight?
Here’s why we CAN trust! Listen to God’s promise…
“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.
By robbing God of the tithe and offering, we are robbing ourselves of the blessings that God promises. God promises that as we trust him in our financial giving, he WILL bless us. It may not be a new house or new car, but it may be a car that doesn’t need repair. It may be health that doesn’t need doctor expenses. It could just be peace of mind and heart as my heart unwinds its anxious grip from finances and allows God’s peace to rule in our hearts.
There are MANY stories of people who took God up on his promise and realized the blessing that comes when they honor the LORD with their tithe, giving to him first. The most recent I heard was a couple that called the Ramsey Show and indicated debt of about $30,000. They made a plan to pay it off in 7 months, without giving any offering. God’s Spirit convicted their heart and led them to trust God, even when their plan said it would take longer. Instead of 7 months it took not 10 months…it took FOUR. They tithed AND paid off their debt three months sooner than they originally planned.
This is just one example of God blessing those who love him more than they love their money.
So stop robbing God. Stop robbing yourself.
In Jesus you are forgiven. With his grace and the power he gives, now bring in the whole tithe…and see how God chooses to bless your soul and your life!
Apply: Try giving a FULL tithe of your income for the next three months, no matter what your financial condition. Allow God to turn your heart fully from love of money to love of him. Journal the journey and note God’s faithfulness to his promise to bless you!
Prayer: Lord, grant me trust to give you FIRST my heart to love you above my material wealth. Then lead me to trust everything I have is yours and then follow gladly your direction to give the full first ten percent back to you. AMEN.