Tip or Tithe
Text: Mal 3:8-12
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 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.
11 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.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
Subject: Do You Bring the Tip or the Tithe?
Introduction: Malachi served as a prophet to the kingdom of Judah and was the last of the Old Testament prophets. The city of Jerusalem and the Temple had been rebuilt for more than 100 years therefore the people had become complacent in their worship of God. Their relationship with God was broken because of their sin. And their dishonesty in giving had caused God to shut up the windows of heaven. But Malachi singled out the leadership, known as the priests; for they knew what God required, yet their sacrifices were unworthy and their service was not sincere. The people had not learned the lesson of the exile, nor had they listened to the prophets. Pride had hardened their hearts, and the leader no longer practiced what he preached.
However, the text begins with a question, not an answer. The text has a major impact yet these words resonate from the mouth of one who is called a minor prophet. The words of the text have become both meaningless and ineffective in the ears of folk who attend church once a week; recite the covenant once a month and read the bible when they want to try and impress others that their walk with God is above and beyond reproach. But Malachi showed at church on Sunday, emphasis mine. Only to find those who had lived lavishly during the week, and consumed the best of they had, yet they brought God the least, the last and the leftovers. These folk were just like the church today. They showed up in fine linen, wearing the best of garments. Fine hats matching shoes and fine linen. And instead of getting some kind of compliment for what they were wearing; instead of getting some kind of accolades for their accomplishments, perhaps, Malachi stood in the midst of the people and said, “Call the cops, because the church has been robed.” So then, Malachi reminds them, that the worst of thieves are not in prison and the meanest of folk are not on the job, but the greatest of thieves are right in the ………. If you don’t believe it, lay your umbrella down, leave you purse or forget your coat. Grandma used to say, “If you lie, you will steal, and if you steal, you will kill….
But Malachi reminds the people, “How dare you show up at the church, as clean as the board of health, talking slow, looking slick and walking like the world is mine. How dare you take a seat where others dare to sit. And sing a song above the choir and pray a prayer that brings heaven down, looking as if you deserve a compliment, but the bible says that you have been cursed.
How dare you show up at the church meeting, and try and determine where every nickel or dime was spent. Yet, you sit on the board and pretend that your heart is right with God.
Not only have you been cursed but you have been spiritually flim-flamed.
As I worked on this message, the computer said:
This is not a word
Do you want to add it to your dictionary???????
But Israel had become dumb-founded and they responded to Malachi, saying, “Wherein have we robed thee,” in other words, they were saying, “Man, what are you talking about?” We show up on the Sabbath. We shout in the aisles, and we sing until heaven bells ring, but Malachi says, in the midst of the shouting, we always seem to hold on to our pocket books.
The folk in the church represent three kinds of houses:
© The house which has no windows
© The house where the windows have never been cracked and
© The house where the windows are opened wide
I want to try to show you what you’re missing:
The house which has no windows:
Represent the folk who live on the dark side. Light cannot enter the house and darkness cannot escape. In this house, light is created through the power company. But, artificial light is not to be compared with natural light… and if the house has no doors or windows, nothing can get in and nothing can get out. Therefore these folk are always short, and seem to be always in financial need. then, there is…
The house where the windows have been cracked:
This represents the believer whose blessings are limited. Not only is his blessings limited but, also somewhere in the house, there is a slow leak… and the spiritual level upon which this persons lives, has created a lifestyle that is limited and full of doubt and fear. This person has a slow leak in the basement and there is a hole in his or her pocket. And the slow-leak and it causes them to have a checking problem.
Little Johnny’s tuition check never bounces.
The house note check is never returned
You are a valued customer at Pepco
You trade cars every two years,
but their church check bounces. Folk that live in this house, seem to always put God last and the family first. folk who live in this house just can’t understand why ends never meet and there’s never enough to do the bidding…
And finally, there is the house where the windows are opened:
Where the tithe opens the window, but the offering determines the flow…
The people that live in this house have crazy faith and undignified praise.
If they get hungry, you will never know it, because they have a word that brings them out this valley of poverty into a place of divine providence. They rest in the testimony of David, “I once was young but now I’m old and I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.”
The people that live in this house are not worried about what’s going to happen with the social security system, because they rest in the promise of God, who has said, “I will never leave the nor forsake thee.” And even when they face the bottom of the barrel, they are comforted by the words of the Apostle Paul, “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, those things which the Lord has in store for those love him.
But there are three final things to be said of the text:
© First, the text is one of God’s conditional promises
© Then, God promises to turn it around and
© Finally, only God can open your windows.
You might think that you need your doors repaired. Somebody thinks that all you need is your next raise or review.
Somebody else thinks that you need to play a number, but you need to let God unlock your windows.
When the windows are cracked, there is a limited source of blessings. But, if the windows have been opened…
Your bills will be paid on time.
And even if they are late, you will never be stressed out if God has opened your window.
Lest you say that the text was not fully exegeted, the theses undeveloped or the subject not fully explained:
The tip is what you think of God but the tithe is what God expects of you.
The tip is our suggestion but, the tithe is God command
The tip is what we think of the service but the tithe is the plan which God uses to bless us.
The tip is man’s gesture but
The tithe is God’s plan for blessing his people.
When God opens your windows:
Nobody can hold your money
Nobody can block your blessing
Nobody can stop your progress
You don’t need a prophetic word
You don’t need a palm reading
You don’t need a tarot card
You don’t need a number
You don’t need it boxed and you don’t need it straight
All you need is an open window
The tithe is your sacrifice unto God but
The window is God’s way of blessing you
The tithe is our way to blessing God but
The window is God’s way of saying “thank you”
And finally, out of the window comes a pouring