8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 3:8-12
In my opinion, this is one of the misused scriptures in all of the Bible. There is a perversion of the Gospel known as the prosperity Gospel. Those who promote this philosophy suggest that God’s desire is for you to be healthy and wealthy. If you are sick or poor then the problem is you just don’t have enough faith. This scripture is one of the ones that often gets used from a financial standpoint. If you just give to God (or more to the point my ministry) then God will give back to you more than you ever dreamed. Give my ministry a $100 today and then next week you may get a check for $1,000 or more. Simple as that.
The problem with this kind of mentality is it kind of makes God into that big cosmic vending machine in the sky. Put my offering in the slot, punch the button and get whatever my heart desires. I don’t believe for a second that God works that way. He is far more interested in our eternal well-being than our comforts here on earth.
So is there a blessing associated with giving?
That said I do firmly believe that God honors us when we give. Blessings come in many fashions. In some cases God may give back to us by the same or greater measure than we gave. But He may choose to give back in other ways.
Sometimes God blesses us by making things we have last longer. In Deuteronomy 8:4 it tells us that while the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness, God supernaturally made their clothing last and not wear out. I think when we are generous with what He has given us He will sometimes do the same for us.
I drive quite a few miles each day with my commute to and from work. I have a 1997 Toyota and just a few weeks ago I topped 200,000 miles. I took a picture of my odometer to commemorate the occasion. The car is still running great. I’ve had very few problems with it and it gets great gas mileage which helps a lot given the number of miles I drive. I’m sure some would just write that off to the reliability of Toyota, and I just got lucky with a good one. I prefer though to give glory to God for making the car so reliable.
Protection from things that could have happened
I truly believe that when we get to heaven someday one of the things that we will be blown away by are all the times when something could have happened to us, but God protected us and we never knew. That time we couldn’t find our car keys and were upset because we were five minutes late for work. Little did we know a truck ran a red light and would have hit us had we left when we planned. Do these kinds of things really happen? Guess we won’t really know until we get to heaven. I for one though believe there are many times God blesses and protects us in ways that we never even realize.
Blessings of giving
Acts 20:35 tells us that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I truly believe this to be so. While it may not be a quantifiable monetary reward, there is nothing that compares to knowing that you have been able to help someone in need. For me that is priceless.
Matthew 6:20 says “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” It’s difficult for us to have perspective here on this earth. We have such a limited view. The 70 or 80 years we spend here on earth will seem so insignificant in the light of eternity. The sacrifices we make during this life will build for us rewards that will last for all eternity. Having the ability to give generously was one of our prime motivators for getting out of debt.
God does indeed pour out blessings upon us
When we are generous we are showing that we care about others more than ourselves. We are also showing God that we have faith in his ability to provide for us, instead of trusting in our own resources. And each time we give we become a little more like God because He is a giver. I firmly believe God will reward our faithfulness. That reward though may not show up as a bundle of cash on our doorstep.
I think part of the problem with the prosperity gospel is that it really puts limits on what God does for us. The real truth is when we are generous with what God has given us, He blesses us in so many ways, some of which we may not even realize until we get to heaven someday.
How has God blessed your giving?