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On a Monday morning, a pastor entered the church. His office had been vandalized and his study had been ransacked. The drawers had been pulled out, and the contents emptied on the floor. The file cabinet had been pried open, and each file folder had been systematically opened and the contents permitted to drop. The thief was rewarded by finding an envelope that contained five dollars that had been sent to the church in the mail.
Someone commented, “If I were going to steal something, the last thing I would break into would be a church. I just can’t think of anything much worse than robbing a church.” Most of us would register a similar attitude. The church is sacred. It belongs to God and to his people. Its purpose is to serve and to help, and the great majority of us would not think of deliberately robbing or stealing from the church.
“Will a man rob God?” (Mal. 3:8). This question from the past should penetrate our hearts. And if we think about it for long, we will arrive at the conclusion that people have been guilty – persistently – of robbing God. From the time when Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, Adam robbed God of that place in his own heart that belonged to God. As Adam robbed God, he was also guilty of self-robbery. He robbed himself of innocence, peace of mind (security), fellowship with God, and the highest possible manhood. He brought upon himself a sinful nature.
I. We rob ourselves when we rob God of our time
a. Thomas Edison said, “Time is the most important thing in the world.”
b. Providence plays no favorites in its distribution of time, for all of us share it in equal quantities. God has given us 24 hours in every day and 8,760 hours in every year. If we live to the age of seventy, it means that God has trusted us with 613, 200 hours.
c. Life at its longest is brief and uncertain
i. The psalmist said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12)
ii. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4)
d. It is a tragedy to waste time; once it is gone it can never be recaptured.
ii. Reading frivolous literature
iii. Peddling gossip
iv. Lying in bed longer than necessary
e. Stewardship of time
i. Begin the day with prayer and worship
ii. Plain wisely
iii. Work diligently
f. The Lord’s Day. A good steward will never get so busy that he does no have time to worship.
II. We rob ourselves when we rob God of our talents.
a. God ahs a purpose for every life
i. We have native endowments. Each talent is a holy responsibility – a God – given opportunity.
ii. We have opportunities to acquire necessary skills
iii. We must not buy our talents
b. We must render an account of our stewardship and talents
i. Talents increase with use
ii. Talents should be used every day
c. The road of faithfulness in little things leads to the city of larger opportunities.
III. We rob ourselves when we rob God of our treasure and particularly when we rob him of our time.
**The people of Malachi’s day had lost consciousness of the abiding presence of God. They were troubled, perplexed, and insecure. We can be guilty of the same sin and expect the same consequences.
a. We rob ourselves of
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