November 2019  
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Rector's Msg.

“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. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty."

Malachi 3:10-12

When Malachi wrote to the people of Judah in the 5th Century BC, a people only recently released from exile in Babylon, his words were both condemning and encouraging. There were six different areas of their lives, which were addressed in these “disputations”. One of the areas was their use of the resources that God had entrusted to them. Malachi’s audience was living during a difficult time. They were only 80-years removed from captivity in Babylon and only around 150,000 Jews had returned to Judah, and these who had returned faced constant harassment and attack from their neighbors. In addition, there was a drought and the produce of the land was inadequate. It was into these circumstances that Malachi spoke.

Malachi challenged his people to try to be more generous than God, because since the Lord had restored them to their homeland the people had turned inward and were keeping what they had for themselves. Thus God challenged them to consider what this meant for their relationship with Him. The people were living like everything came from them and that they did not need to give thanks to God for any of it, behavior that according to the text was akin to stealing from God.

Therefore God, through Malachi, puts forward a test: “test me in this 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.” The way that they would test God would be to give generously from what He had given them. Sure, at that moment they did not have much, but the Lord challenged them to give 10% of it back to Him. Then they would see what God would do.

This is a remarkable passage from the last book of the Old Testament, which has a direct and clear meaning to the people of Judah and can also apply to us. Now, it is important to qualify that this is not a get-rich-quick formula. You cannot expect to give 10% of your income to the church and get back 200% from God. It is not a formula. Rather it is a challenge. Can we faithfully give to God the 10% He asks and see if He does not respond in some way? We might not get more money or larger harvests, but God can respond in all kinds of ways that can change our lives. And ultimately, the Lord is not asking something heroic of us, but rather is inviting us into basic faithfulness and the proper orientation of understanding that all things come from Him. May we walk in faith as we put our trust in God’s faithfulness.

In Christ,

~Seth~