Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. —Malachi 3:8
Malachi, the prophet, asked the people if they had robbed God and then informed them that they had indeed robbed God of tithes and offerings. This passage is misused and abused by many false preachers who try to coerce money from the people. In some countries I have visited, this is the primary theme of the ministry in the congregations—tithe, tithe, tithe.
The burden this quarter is to build on the foundation of the last issue which taught about the two covenants. Tithing is an Old Testament doctrine which has been abolished in favor of a better covenant where giving is done freely and from the heart. I would that people could see and experience the true blessings and reward of voluntary service and giving. Giving can be a difficult subject for the man of God to teach for fear that people will think the teaching is self-serving. It is a vital and needful subject among the saints today.
The obligation of the tithe is no more but the responsibility of giving remains. Some people give little to nothing since they are not bound to a legal tithe; and yet, let us remember Paul’s exhortation: “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh” (Galatians 5:13).
There are many needs in the work of God and space is limited to enumerate them. I will address briefly some points to consider about giving to the ministry. The first responsibility in giving starts with the one who feeds us Sunday after Sunday—the pastor. There may be times that the pastor is gone. It is important that the congregation not forget their responsibility during those times.
Evangelists and missionaries have no one group that assumes responsibility for their support. It takes a lot of money to travel at home and abroad, and they have to pay their bills like everyone else. One-time offerings are wonderful, but consistent, regular support is of great value. When a large offering is given to a minster, be aware that the minister might have labored for months receiving little to nothing, and God is using this occasion to assist him.
Giving is a blessing that is not intended exclusively for the wealthy. Whether we have little or much, it should be a pleasurable duty and desire to give an offering to the Lord. I have found it true that even when it seems we can least afford to give, when we are obedient to the Lord, He provides for us. Truly, we can never out-give the Lord.
Michael W. Smith