You guys, I had the craziest Malachi 3:10 moment. It was one of those things you can’t forget because it was so obviously God.
I get that this post could be controversial, and I’ve hesitated to publish it for a while because of that, but ultimately I hope that I can share it with the understanding that this is just one crazy God-moment in my life, it’s personal to me. #howsthatforarunonsentence
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it…” – Malachi 3:10
Ok so here’s my story!
Years ago when I was living in NYC I attended a church that preached a message on Malachi 3:10 and tithing. Before that message I wasn’t really familiar with the verse or the whole concept of tithing. I didn’t know that “tithe” meant 10% and that in the Old Testament God issued a command for all believers to give the first 10% of their earnings (today we think of it as money but it often meant cattle and produce back then as well) to the Temple to support the priests. I had never considered the fact that 100% of what we have is a gift from God, and in turn we’re asked to give a small portion of His provision back to the church. I definitely hadn’t considered that tithing, this giving back of “my” income could be a blessing to me. The Catholic churches I grew up in passed around offering baskets before communion and the nondenominational church I started attending when I turned 16 never really mentioned it (or I was a teenager and it went in one ear and out the other). So when I heard that message it hit hard.
But the thing that really stuck out to me about Malachi 3:10 is it’s the only verse in the whole Bible where God says we can test Him. Normally testing God = not such a great idea. But in this area He says go ahead – test me. That’s huge. Remember that part, I’ll get back to it later.
At the end of the message, my church issued a three month generosity challenge and asked us to give whatever the Lord spoke into our hearts for the months of November through January. Despite all I had just learned my gut instinct was that there was no way I could afford to give 10% of my income. I was just getting by, New York City is expensive! And that’s not an excuse, it really was! But I couldn’t shake the number 20%. So I reluctantly decided to give 20% for three months only and see what happened. After all, God did say “test me,” so He’s obviously serious about this issue, even if it seems like an impossible challenge.
Here’s the crazy part. Two and a half months after the generosity challenge had ended my job – a completely secular company with no idea about my church’s tithing challenge – offered me a promotion and 20% raise. 20%. The exact number I had dedicated to the church just two and a half months earlier. God provided. I can’t tell you how needed it was. It was HUGE! It was a God moment – God working through a completely secular institution.
Now I know that we won’t always get a financial reward for our giving. The moral of this story isn’t that if you tithe God will give you a raise. I think His blessings are different for all of us depending on His good and perfect will. But we do know He uses all things for good. The moral of this story is that for me that Malachi 3:10 moment will always be a reminder that God provides. And because of that I’ve been tithing ever since, no matter how tight the budget. And God has continued to faithfully provide all I need.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28