Having the right attitude regarding wealth

Having the right attitude regarding wealth

Read Malachi 3:8-15

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse."

If our pursuit of wealth is a pursuit of the wind (Ecclesiastes 5:16), what is our perspective? The answers lie in Malachi 3:8-15. In this passage, God condemns Israel's people for the failure to fulfill their covenantal responsibilities, which included the commitment to bring their tithes and offerings to the temple. In the law, to honor and express their worship to God, they were to gives tithes and offerings to the Lord. These to be provided for several reasons.

First and foremost, the tithe was an act of worship expressing gratitude for God's provision. God had given Israel the land as an inheritance. However, it still belonged to Him, and Israel's possession of the land was not one of ownership but stewardship. In their tithing, they acknowledged God's ultimate ownership of the land and His blessing upon their life. Second, in their tithe, they were making provision for the temple's ministry and the Levites. The latter was responsible for serving God and the community through their service in maintaining the temple worship. Unlike the other tribes, the tribe of Levite was not given an allotment of land to provide for their livelihood. Instead, they were to be devoted to serving the temple, and the people were then to honor their service by making financial provisions for them. Last, they were to give a means of making provision for the poor in the community (see Leviticus 27:28-32 and Deut. 14:22-28).

Malachi, the last book written in the Old Testament, was God's final warning to Israel to repent and return to a life of obedience to God. It is a book filled with warnings and condemnation. In verses 3:8-15, God brings an accusation that the people had robbed God by failing to bring their tithes to the temple. Instead of seeing their possessions as a gift from God and their responsibility to be stewards of God's possession, they disregarded God's provision and saw their possessions as their own. But the issue was not about tithing but their lack of trust in God. They were no longer giving because they were fearful that God would not provide for their needs. In response, God reminds them to trust in him, and he will care and provide for them with his abundant blessings (vs. 10).

In this passage, we find several vital principles regarding our attitude towards our wealth and possessions. First, to have the proper perspective of wealth, we need to see our possessions as gifts from God to use for His glory. Too often, we view our wealth as a means to our security and enjoyment rather than a blessing bestowed upon us to use for God's glory and His ministry. Just as Israel was called upon to give to the temple's work, we are equally called upon to give freely to the work and ministry of the church. God has blessed us, not because of our giving, but so that we might give to others and His ministry. This is the point that Paul makes in 2 Corinthians 9:8 when he writes, "And God can make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed."

Second, we are to express our trust in God's provision and our worship for His daily care. Instead of being tight-fisted with our money because of fear, we can be generous because we know that God will ultimately provide for all our needs. When we give, we recognize that all our possessions ultimately belong to Him, and were are merely stewards of them. Giving is thus an act of submission, trust, and worship. Do you see your wealth as a blessing of God and to be used for His glory?

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