It is the heart of man to hold, to control, and to obsess. Our nature is to horde for ourselves, so that we are protected. It’s a selfish thought really—a thought that says, “Look out for number one. If you don’t look out for you, no one else will.” To think any other way would be contrary to our broken nature… an act of conscience will… a choice that even culture would deem foolish… a… well… uh …a step of faith!
- Think of a time that you “looked out for number one.” How did it work out? What did you learn about God in the process?
READ THE WORD: MALACHI 3:6-12 (ESV)
6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. 11 I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. 12 Then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.
- What does verse 6 say about God? Consider God’s immutability in relationship to his people not becoming consumed.
- What did God promise to do if Israel returned to him (vs. 7)? What does that say about God?
- Who should be put to the test (vs. 10)? What did God say the Israelites should test him in, and what would happen if they did? What does that say about God?
- What is it that keeps you from trusting the Lord implicitly with every single area of your life? What are you holding on to out of fear or selfishness?
RESPOND TO GOD
Our ability to give is directly related to our ability to trust God. You can apply this to any area of giving, not just financially, but also in conflict, in relationship, in time, and in energy. God says, “Give and watch what I will do!” So what keeps us from giving? I would suggest a lack of understanding of how vast and almighty is our God AND our ability to trust that Almighty God. My father used to say that the whole Christian life can boil down to this one word—TRUST. How much do you trust God? The God who created everything that you see and called it into existence by his word?
- Pray about it and try giving it up. Go ahead… test him.