Summary: Whether we are a good steward of God's provision or not depends on the attitude of our heart. Are we trusting God for all our needs? If so he will provide and bless us.
Money. It’s a hot topic! Most people in the world live in order to make money. After all, its money that pays the bills, puts food on the table and clothes on our back. But it’s also money that brings us comfort because we can buy for ourselves things that bring us ease and comfort in this life: a nice dinner at a restaurant, a new patio set for the back yard, a tv to enjoy our favorite movies and programs, a more comfortable car, the list is endless. We talk about money all the time – some of us on a daily basis because it’s the means by which we are able to live.
Money is also talked about a lot in the church – board meetings, quarterly and annual meetings dedicate a lot of attention to money. But, somehow it’s a taboo subject when brought from the Sunday morning pulpit. That’s why I call it the “M” word – a word not to be mentioned in a sermon. People tend to react with anger or offense. Whenever a pastor preaches on money, what is the assumption? He’s just out to get rich – to take as much money from the people as possible! Unfortunately, televangelists have given many pastors a bad name. There are some who would get rich off the offerings of the faithful givers – and they will be held accountable to God on judgment day.
Despite that fact, Jesus talked about money often. And although I rarely talk about money and stewardship, there is a time to focus on this too because money is a part of life and we need to know what is God’s will for us concerning the resources he has given us. Money isn’t secular – it’s a sacred gift from God and therefore, how we handle it is very important.
As we continue our study of the book of Malachi, we discover God’s people at that time had serious problems with money. And so the Lord confronts them and us with some important principles about money and our relationship with God.
1. The bottom line basic principle about money is this: we are stewards of God’s money.
Malachi begins his message here about money very strongly – he accuses his people: “You are robbing me!...in tithes and offerings.” (3:8) I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being accused of being a robber or a thief. But this is the offense that he brings to these people who worship God.
And they are incredulous? We can almost hear their complaints: “Who of us stole from the temple? Who took from the offering box? Who snuck a couple extra steaks from the sacrifice for his family? We don’t do that kind of thing!” Of course not! But when you don’t give the full tithe – it’s the same as stealing from the offering plate! Why? Because it’s not yours to take.
Psalm 24:1 says “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” It is a crucial principle to understand that we really own nothing that we have. It’s God’s. When we really understand this we can start to loosen up our grip on everything around us that we claim is ours. It’s all on loan to us and can be taken away at any moment by the Lord. As Job said: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1:21)