The Offering Unto the Lord
Money and possessions must always be viewed as stored up self. They are an extension of our life and cannot be separated from who we are. It is impossible to be a Christian and that Christianity fail to extend into our pocketbook or bank account. A new believer is quick to make restitution to their enemies and to restore anything taken by false account. A believer’s music will be cleansed of that which is unholy. All their habits and entertainment will be weighed by a loving surrender to purity. Tithing and giving is utterly bound to our new love of the kingdom of God. Our possessions become totally connected to our love for the Lord, and all we own becomes the Lord’s possessions. Our Father in heaven gave His Son, His greatest treasure, and we must lay our treasure at His feet.
The prophet, Malachi, spoke of Jesus Christ coming in one of the First Testament’s greatest Messianic prophecies. He carefully declared the righteousness that would accompany the preaching of Jesus Christ. "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:2-3) An offering to the Lord was paramount in a First Testament worship setting. We are often careless in understanding this First Testament connection to the Second Testament experience. We do not bring a lamb or a heifer to the altar, we bring ourselves to the New Testament altar. But we do not bring just the physical person but all stored up extensions of that person. We give Him all we are and are gloriously converted to Sonship and the Body of Christ.
Tithing becomes a small part of the marvel of being Born Again and transformed into the kingdom. The "First Love" of a new Christian is so all-compassing and all-consuming that they are ready to give themselves in a sacrifice that will take your breath away. Barnabas was called the "son of consolation" because of this very expression of a consuming desire to give. "And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet." (Acts 4:36-37) Apostle Paul wrote to the saints and commended them for their liberality in giving. The New Testament saints lived out the great truth taught in this Malachi prophecy. You cannot serve God and rob Him of your tithes and offering.
Malachi continued in this text to spell out the Biblical order of giving. He quoted the Lord’s very strong warning and command, "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." (Malachi 3:6-9) The tithes are God’s possession of everything you receive or posses. When an unbeliever is converted, they should pay tithes of everything they posses and then begin to tithe their total income from that day forward. But tithing is a very small part of giving. From the foundation of tithing, each man or woman then gives according to his or her several abilities. God expects nothing of you but a reasonable sacrifice. Those that have much should pour out of their abundance to the work of the Lord. They that have little should give according to their smaller amount. All of us should give until we are giving up some pleasure and comfort.
All of this must be in our heart and not by command. The tithe belongs to the House of God and the ministry of the local church. Offerings should begin in your church but must continue in your desire to win the world to Christ: Missions, children’s homes, and true widows that have no kin and are faithful to the Lord and the washing of the saint’s feet. "Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." (I Timothy 5:9-10)
The blessings cannot be stopped that will follow the Biblical tither and giver. Our Father will open the windows of Heaven. He keeps a perfect record and you cannot even give a cup of water in His name and the recording of your record fail. "Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts." (Malachi 3:9-11) Every believer that fails in this great truth will see nothing but curses upon their possessions. Those that obey shall be called, ".blessed.a delightful land" and shall shine as Barnabas in the Acts of the Apostles.