Thousands of years ago, God set up a system by which he would bless the world through people: “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3). During the second temple period, the system was the same as it had been since God gave Moses the Law: everyone bring a tenth of their best wealth to the temple, so the storehouse would be full. So that…who would be blessed?
Those in the most need.*
But when the chosen people of God aren’t faithful in this calling, the community suffers. This faithlessness of God’s people and its repercussions are at the heart of Malachi 3. Of course God could solve all the world’s problems. But scripture is clear from end to end: God plans to bless the world through you, me, and all whom he calls.
The good news in this passage is that God intends to abundantly bless the community who are faithful stewards of what God has given. Note: to bless the community. There’s no individual “prosperity gospel” here. This is not a call to manipulate God into fulfilling our wish lists. This is a call to join God in blessing others, so that we, like the faithful before us, can have our names written in the scroll of remembrance as those who honored God.
- What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to giving a portion of your income to ministry efforts?
- God’s law has always been to give the first 10% of our income. Does this challenge you? Why or why not?
- Can you think of a time when you gave from your personal income or wealth and experienced God’s provision afterward?
- Do you think our city would change if every Jesus follower gave the first 10% of their income to ministry efforts? If so, how?