The words written in Malachi 3:10 can trigger much debate, even among believers. Some may think that tithing is part of the law that Christ did away with, and therefore no longer required. Others may question its practicality in light of the current economy. But for those who believe in and practice the principle of tithing, there is no question of its place in today's Christian church. For them, the peace and abundance Christians receive from operating in God's economy has proven to far exceed any financial security the secular world tries to provide.
Psalm 24:1 says that "The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness." This truth lays the foundation of why Christians tithe. It is giving back to God a portion of what was already His to begin with. But it doesn't stop there. Tithing requires humility because it expresses dependency on the sovereignty and faithfulness of God. By setting aside the firstfruits of their finances, Christians are saying, "I give this to you as an act of faith because I know that my provision comes from you alone."
According to Scripture, God doesn't withhold good things from those who do what is right. This is true for both the giver and the ministry to whom the tithe is given. Through the tithes of His people, God can provide for the needs of His ministry. Tithing makes available a salary for the pastor and his family, as well as church staff because the Bible says that Christian workers should be paid by those they serve.
Tithing is also a financial resource for the individual departments within the church such as nursery, youth and children's ministries, missionaries that the church supports, and so on. This also applies to the practical aspects of operating a church facility, such as maintenance and upkeep of the building, its power bill, water bill and other necessary payables.
Beyond what God can and will do for His ministry with tithes, there is a personal blessing for the giver. This blessing comes from the heart of a loving, compassionate God who wants to give away all that He has to His children. God's giving is without measure; Scripture is abundant with the evidence of this.
- "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3:16 NLT)
- "Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave Him up for us all..." (Rom. 8:32 NLT)
- "Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned..." (Gal. 1:4)
Giving brings God great pleasure. And He desires for the abundance that He gives without measure to overflow from His children into the lives of others. When Jesus fed the 5,000, there was great abundance, even after the need was met. (John 6:13). This is the kind of prosperity God desires for His people. The believer should never be satisfied with living hand to mouth as if God never intended or desired to prosper them. Abundance cannot be given from a meager existence. Rather, the life that overflows with the blessings of God can give as it has received.
Tithing is not to be a mindless action or reflex. It should not be done thinking that God is obligated to give back. Rather, the heart of the giver is to be humble, to know they owe their very existence to the One who holds the entire universe in the palm of His hand. Yet this same immense God promises to meet not just the daily, mundane needs, but also promises to give a life of abundance and prosperity.
The scripture in Malachi is a challenge to believers, one that is not found anywhere else. God is saying, "Test me." He wants to be proven, so that the believer will know whether He will keep His promise for abundance in all things. This means that financial provision can be made; health and protection can be provided; joy and rest are for the taking. And when God gives of His abundance, He never counts pennies to make sure He's not giving too much. It is given without measure so that not only is the believer filled, but those to whom they give are filled also.