Summary: What should a Christian give to God?
As we mentioned last time, in this series on giving, we are going to take a look at what the bible says about the “What,” “How,” and “Why” of giving. Today, we will look to Scripture to answer the question of “What should I give?” From our text, we discover that there are three things every believer needs to give.
1. We should give our selves to God - vs. 6-7b
In citing the example of the Macedonian believers with respect to giving, Paul said of them in 2 Corinthians 8:5.
“They gave themselves first to the Lord.” - 2 Corinthians 8:5 (NIV)
We also find Malachi emphasizing the same thing as he speaks to God’s people about giving. It was God’s desire, first and foremost, that they give themselves wholly to Him.
The people of Israel had forsaken God’s decrees. They had forsaken God’s ways. They had forsaken God. But God had not forsaken them. God had not left them . . . They had left God.
“If God seems far away . . . Guess who moved.”
If you are a child of God who feels as though God seems far away from you, you can rest assured that God has not forsaken you. For as we are reminded in Hebrews 13:5 (NIV), the promise of God to His children is, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So, if God seems far away from me, it is because I have moved away from Him, because He will never move away from me.
What God desires most from us is our selves. He calls us to a love relationship with Himself. That was his desire from the beginning. Man was created for a love relationship with God. But sin broke that love relationship, which is what Jesus came.
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” - John 3:16 (Amplified)
God expressed His love through Christ’s sacrifice for us.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” - Romans 5:8 (NLT)
Jesus died in order to restore our love relationship with the Father. Our love relationship with God must, therefore, be of equal importance to us as it is to God. It is because of the priority of the love relationship that God promises to never leave or forsake us; and it is because of the priority of the love relationship that we must never leave of forsake God.
A couple was having problems and for counseling. At one point the husband said to the wife, “I’ve given you every¬thing you’ve ever asked for-a new home, a new car, all the clothes you can wear,” and the list went on. When he finished the wife said sadly “That is true. You have given me everything but one thing . . . yourself.”
Sadly, marriage relationships aren’t the only ones that are damaged because one party choose not to give themselves to it, many relationship with god are not what they should be for the same reason.
What am I to give? I am to give myself to God.
2. We should give our substance to God’s control - vs. 7c-8a
Having identified the problem that existed between god and His people, Malachi goes on to pin point the issue at hand. Anticipating the people’s question of how they might return to God, he tells them that the reason they strayed in the first place was that they assumed control of their lives, their substance, instead of yielding control to the rightful owner—God. Malachi charged that they were guilty of robbing God! At issue, therefore, in their returning to God, was whether or not they would give their substance to God’s control instead of maintaining control themselves.
This same issue needs to be resolved in each of our lives as well. Will we acknowledge God as the creator and provider of all things? If so, then He is the owner of all things as well. Since that is true, then what I possess is merely that which God allows me to possess; and I owe it to the One who has entrusted it to me to manage it in such a way as to please Him. Each of us needs to give his substance to God’s control.
Especially when I considers the fact that if Christ is my Savior, then God owns me, too.
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God.” - 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)
Emil Mettler was a restaurateur in London who was a close friend of Albert Schweitzer. Mettler would not allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal. He once opened his register in the presence of a Secretary of the London Missionary Society. The Secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail. What was it doing there? Mettler explained, “I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation and of what I owe Him in return.”