Summary: Malachi Series - 5 of 6.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TITHING
INTRO: A man had built a prosperous business through zealous toil and honest
dealings. As he advanced in age, he felt concerned about the future of his enter
prise because he had no close relatives except three nephews. One day he sum
moned the young men and said, "I have a problem, and whoever comes up
with the best solution will inherit all that I possess."
Giving each of them an equal sum of money, he instructed them to buy some
thing that would fill his large office. "Spend no more than I’ve given you," he
directed, "and be sure you’re back by sunset." All day long his nephews
sought to fulfill their mission. Finally, when the shadows lengthened, they obe
diently returned to make their report.
Their uncle asked to see their purchases. The first dragged a huge bale of straw
into the room. When it was untied it made a pile that nearly hid two of the walls.
After it was cleared away, the second brought in two large bags of thistledown,
which when released, filled three-fourths of the room. This was even better than
The third nephew stood silent and forlorn. "And what have you to offer?"
asked his aged relative. "Uncle, I spent half of my money to feed a hungry
child and gave almost all the rest to the church. With the little I had left, I
bought these matches and a small candle." Then he lit the candle, and its light
filled every corner of the room!
The kindly old man realized that here was the noblest of them all. He blessed
him for making the best use of his gift and gave him all his possessions.
The tragedy of Israel’s sin against God is that, most of all, she cheated herself
out of His greatest blessings. It is always that way.
Malachi’s fifth indictment against Israel was that she had gone away from God
and had not kept His commandments. When the Lord called the people to turn
back to Him, they asked, "Wherein shall we return?"
The Lord then pointed to their failure to tithe as one area in which they had been
disobedient and of which they needed to repent. His words teach us that when
we do not tithe we rob God, we rob the church and we rob ourselves.
I. WE ROB GOD (v. 9).
When we do not tithe, we rob God of that which is rightfully His. Look
at Malachi’s charge in verse 9. Rob means to take by force.
One of the fundamental facts of life is "The earth is the Lord’s, and
the fullness thereof." Ultimately all things belong to Him, and He has
a rightful claim on all that we possess.
Christian stewardship is really nothing less than all we do with all that
we have. The amount Jesus is talking about is a pretty big amount: it’s
100 percent. Stewardship is not just about how much of what I own will
I give to God. It’s about how much of me have I given to God....
Stewardship is not about paying dues. Sometimes I wish it were because
that would be easier: just tell me how much I owe, and I can pay the
Lord just as I pay the bills. It’s not paying dues. It’s about deliberately
making deposits of my time and my energy and what I own into God’s
business.... Fundamentally, stewardship begins with giving 100 percent
of who I am to God.
Ultimately all things belong to God including the tithe. When we fail to
give it, we rob Him of that which is rightfully His. The Scriptures are
clear: the tithe is the Lord’s
II. WE ROB THE CHURCH (v. 10).
When we do not tithe, we rob God’s house of that which is needed to
carry on His worship and work. Malachi challenged Israel to support the
The people were not tithing and, as a result, the essentials of worship
were lacking. It is always that way.
There are three books of worship — the hymn book, the Holy Book, and
the pocketbook. When you come to church, bring all three, for it takes
all of them to make worship complete.
Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. We ought to love it
enough to give ourselves and our possessions to its ministry. When we
don’t give as we ought, His worship and work both suffer.
Stewardship of possessions is the effect of God’s saving grace upon
one’s self and his property. When God gets a man with a car He gets a
car to be used in His service.
Some seem to think of stewardship as a whip or as legal action to drive
people to give to the expenses of the church. No doubt too often the