Some Things Don’t Change
Lord, You do not owe me, You own me. Today, remind me of Your lordship in my life.
Read Malachi 3:6-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God’s call to live a life of unlimited generosity is rooted in his limitless love and care for us” (Brennan Manning).
Last week a friend, visiting me in Ethiopia, took the wrong money bill out of her purse and gave a beggar the equivalent of $10, instead of the $1 she intended! The old lady noticed the mistake and quickly scuttled off down the road so she would not lose this unexpected bonus! The story is also told of the man who came home from church and suddenly realized he had put a $50 bill into the collection instead of the $5 he intended. “Never mind, dear,” his wife replied. “I’m sure God will count it as $5!” Our attitude toward giving and receiving is a great indication about our relationship with God. God does not change. He is merciful. He gives chance after chance, but none of this means it won’t make any difference what we do. His unchanging love meant that if Israel returned to him he would always accept them, but his unchanging justice means that if they did not, the situation would be very different. In their case, one symbol of their “return” was a willingness to give to him their “whole tithe.”
As Christians we are not under law and there is no prescribed level of giving. For families trying to survive on a few dollars a day, a tenth of their income is a huge amount; for those receiving $1,000 a day, it is not. Generosity, however, is a key Christian virtue; it’s still an important way of showing we belong to God’s family. I have no doubts at all that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Note Malachi’s recognition here that there were many in Israel who were “doing OK!” Don’t let these passages leave you with an unnecessary feeling of guilt!
Try setting aside something over and above your normal giving (whether money or time). Take time to decide just how you are going to give it to God. And enjoy!
Lord Jesus, You were rich yet for my sake You became poor so that in You I might become rich. Thank You.
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