Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
We had this passage in our devotional yesterday. The question has been asked regarding who we should give to. In this verse God commanded the nation of Israel to bring all the tithes into the storehouse. We noted that the tithe is ten percent of a person’s income. God said this needs to be brought into the storehouse.
The storehouse at the time of that writing was the temple. The temple was still in existence at that time and even during the time that Jesus Christ was on earth. Jesus talked of the poor widow who brought her two mites and put them into the treasury. He also noted the rich people who put their large amounts into the treasury. Jesus noted that she gave all her living, while the rich just gave from their excess. The rich would never miss what they gave. The widow needed to trust the Lord for her next meal. She would be blessed because God blesses those who honour Him.
God’s blessing is not to be confused with the heresies taught by the Charismatic movement. They try to lure the gullible to give to their ungodly work. They claim that if you would give them some “seed” money, that God would bless you in a great way. They boast of how “God” is blessing them. They have their fancy lifestyle because they have preyed on the vulnerable. That is not God’s way of doing things.
In AD 70 the temple was destroyed. God allowed that temple to stand for just over 35 years after Jesus Christ presented Himself as the true Temple. There was no further need of that earthly temple. Jesus declared that He would build His church upon Himself. The first true church was in Jerusalem. From there they branched out and many churches were established across that part of the world. Jesus addressed seven churches in Revelation chapters 2&3. A true church must have Jesus Christ as its Head and it must function according to His Word.
The storehouse since the promise of Jesus Christ is the local church. In the book of Acts and onward we see that born again Christians joined a true local church. They gave their tithes and offerings to the true local church. That is God’s design. There are many “parachurch” groups out there in our world. They are not a part of any true church. They may have the support of some churches, but they are not under the authority of a true local church. They send out letters and make pleas for money. I get those kind of letters all the time.
The true Christians give their tithes and offerings to their local church. The local church should be the vehicle that supports other true needs. Evangelists, often called missionaries, should be supported through a true local church. The apostle Paul was sent out of the church at Antioch. Gifts that were given to him were given with the blessing of God because he was a true servant of God.
Some years ago I filled in as a pastor of a northern Manitoba church for the summer months. I was very much a ‘green horn’ at that time. A travelling evangelist came into the area and the church people said they knew the man so I allowed him to preach a service. He said some things during that service that were clearly unbiblical and so I met with him and asked him to show me from the Bible that what he had stated was true. I was a young man at the time and wanted to know the truth. I still want to know the truth today. He took me to an Old Testament passage that did not support what he taught at all, but he twisted it to support what he believed. I did not accept his false teaching and did not allow him to speak in the church again. He had been there before and he had told “fantastic” tales in order to get the people to give him money. Then he left town and now he had come back to try to get more money out of the people. He did not deserve one penny because he was a false teacher.
The pastor of the local church should be giving leadership as to what is a truly worthwhile avenue for the tithes and offerings. The pastor needs to be a God-fearing man. The members of the local church will know that. If the church is able there would be deacons assisting the pastor with the needs of the church.
A pastor from a different church should not be contacting members from another church to try to get money from them. If he has a legitimate need, he could contact the pastor of another church and that pastor could mention the need before the congregation for consideration.
There has been a lot of money given to “snake oil salesmen” over the years. Men who should be humble servants of the Lord, have become rich by stealing from the people. Discernment is needed in giving. The storehouse must be a true house of God. God will never try to cheat anyone out of their material things. God does not rob people. He desires to bless people. That is what God told Malachi to write in our opening verse.
The apostle Paul was not a rich man. He knew what it was like to be hungry. He knew what it was like to be in prison. He did not have a fancy house to go to. He did not own any real estate. He even needed to work at his trade of tent making while in Corinth because that church did not look after him properly. He was willing to do that to help them and others to see the importance of serving the Lord faithfully.
A godly pastor does not serve God if he will receive a good salary. He serves the Lord because he is called to serve Him. A godly pastor will trust God to supply his needs. He will be a testimony of the faithfulness of the Lord as he shepherds the flock God gives him.
There are many things that we have come to assume are essentials when they are not.
I Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Those who are truly saved need to let God show them where true value is. It is not found in more things. It is found in knowing the Lord and serving Him faithfully. He provides and He blesses according to His wisdom. Laziness is not part of the Christian life. The Christian works and serves the Lord faithfully and trusts God to give him what he needs.
The true local church needs to learn to be a testimony in all areas of life. God will bless each true local church according to His wisdom. He wants us to major on the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. Whether God calls you to a smaller church or to a larger church, the goal is to serve Him. The lost need to be drawn by the Word of God, not the size of the building or the number of programs being offered.
We are coming into a time when belts will need to be tightened. The economy is in trouble. There is no appetite for politicians to turn to the Lord in repentance and salvation. God’s people will be looked after, but we may need to live more like the first century Christians lived. That is not bad. It certainly is different than what we have become accustomed to.
We need money to live, but we do not need to live for money. The ungodly live for money and pleasure. That is all they have. They have no hope beyond the grave. The saved have a hope now and for all eternity.