This is the thirteenth in a series of bulletin inserts on corporate worship at Trinity URC. Full Series (to date)–>HERE
After pouring out our hearts in thanksgiving to God in prayer, we open our hands wide in thanksgiving to God in the offering. As we give our gifts to God, we are simply returning to him that which he has already given us. God is a giver. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift; with him there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17). He is the overflowing fountain of all good.
It is good to think about God’s character when we think about the offering. He tells us in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” God does not change; he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is his unchangeableness that prevents us from being consumed. We are children of Jacob, deceitful like him. “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them” (Malachi 3:7). But God is not deceitful. Even in our deceitfulness and sin, God comes to us and says, “Return to me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7).
One of the ways in which we are to return to him is in our giving. God speaks in Malachi 3:8 of robbing him: “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.” We can actually rob God in our gifts. Remember Ananias and Sapphira!
God then goes on to put us to the test: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10).
This is the one of the very few places in Scripture where God actually invites us, calls us, and even commands us to put him to the test. It is as though God invites us to put him on probation to see whether he will keep his commitment to us, to see whether he will be faithful to his word and to us, to see whether he will be benevolent toward us. “Test me in this,” he says; “Do you trust my character? Do you trust my provision? Do you trust my promises? Try me, and I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you bring your full tithe, I will open for you the windows of heaven. I will pour out upon you such blessing, you will not have room enough to receive it. I’ll give you more than you need. I’ll give you more than you want. I will do for you exceedingly abundantly above all that you think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). I will supply every need of yours according to my riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).”
God is a giver. He delights to give. There is no greater proof of that than the cross of Jesus Christ. For though he was rich, for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).
As you bring your gifts and offerings every Lord’s Day, may you reflect the heart and character of God. May you bring your gifts not begrudgingly, or with a clenched fist, but with an open hand and with thanksgiving and joy, as you think upon Jesus, knowing that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
~Rev. Brian Vos