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Why Give?

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. (Malachi 3:10, NRSV)

This passage has been used by some to say that we should give to God so that we will in turn be blessed. That "blessing" is almost always seen as material gain. It suggests a quid pro quo -- do this and get that, as if God were a slot machine into which one pumps quarters until God is obliged to eventually pay out. You just don't know when or how much.

That, however, is not how God works. Such a god would be capricious, needy, and able to be bribed. "Give to get" suggests that God owes us something and will only provide if we do certain things. It removes God's sovereignty.

The people Malachi addressed were experiencing tough times -- drought and scarcity. They were anxious and in their fear had stopped giving. All they could see was what they lacked. God promised if they were faithful in generosity, they would discover that there was already enough. The blessings were already present; they just needed to trust and share. Each giving an equal portion (a tithe) would assure none would be without.

You don't have to give to get. You can give because you have already received. You don't need to give something so that God will consider loving you, caring for you, or providing for you. It is the very nature of God to give. Your giving is a thankful response for what you already have received.

For Focus ad Reflection: How does my giving reflect what I am most thankful for?

Prayer: For your generosity that flowed from the first day of creation, I give you thanks. Amen.

Community of Prayer Stewardship Devotional
Copyright ©2016 by Bruce A. Barkhauer
Permission to copy & email given by Center for Faith and Giving
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