You Don't Own A Thing
But you say, ‘How shall we return?’ Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. — Malachi 3:7-10
So God's people throughout the book of Malachi keep trying to interrogate God. And they don't do so well. Their question here is — "How do we come back?" They ask this because they feel like they haven't left. They feel like God has left them. So because they ask the question, God is going to answer them. And he's going to illustrate their unfaithfulness using money. What's interesting about this example is that God has already given them lots of examples of how they have left him. But they are not listening. In fact, he just gave them a list of six. But instead of using those examples, he pulls out a new one — how they don't give their tithes. A tithe literally meant one-tenth and they were required by their Law to give one-tenth of their annual earnings to God. This was done to honor God's ongoing provision to them and then used to support Temple functions.
Now I don't have time to deal with all the history behind the tithe, but there are a couple of things you need to know. First, we are not obligated to the Mosaic Covenant. These people were. But we are not. We are obligated to a New Covenant. Therefore, we do not tithe to the Temple as they did. Second, I should clarify that the New Covenant does declare generous and sacrificial giving to the work of ministry. 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 talk a lot about this.
But there is a bigger issue I want to address from this text.
Everything we get is from God. Everything. As followers, we are required to relinquish control of ownership. We don't own a thing. God owns it all. But we can easily disconnect from this truth because an ownership mindset is seductive. Even a little taste of success or accomplishment can convince us that we did it or we deserve it, and thus a thing belongs to us. But it doesn't. It's God's. And there is a tell-tale sign that will indicate that any man has fallen into the ownership mindset. The indicator happens right at the moment you are asked to give or presented a need. Then what you do is justify not giving because that thing someone else needs belongs only to you.
Put it to the test today. Steward more. Own less. Live like a steward. There is only one Owner.
ASK THIS: Is there something God is asking you to give of your time, talents, and treasure?
DO THIS: Give it away, and don't let it own you.
PRAY THIS: God, I declare you own all things in my life, even my money. Show me how to steward it.
PLAY THIS: Living Sacrifice.
SIGN UP — MEN'S DAILY DEVO
short | practical | biblical
Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.
I think in Matt 23:23 that Jesus confims we should tithe but not leave out other virtues of our faith. But it is all his anyway so let us treat it that way.
I believe in tithing, and my church enacts a tithe on its members. I’ve been tithing for over a decade, and have seen enormous blessings in my life as a result. I strongly believe in tithing. I understand Vince’s argument, but I also know God keeps his promises. Therefore, if you do tithe, you will be blessed running over. I can attest to this, and believe tithing is in accordance with God’s commandments to men on this planet.
Thanks for listening and reading.
It’s just a small technicality, but the appropriate term is “giving” or “generous giving.” This is only an FYI not a condemnation of your choice of practice.
Tithing is an Old Testament reference only referring to the first fruits of the land and cattle used in the Holy Temple (not the New Testament church). Believe it or not, the term is not found in the New Testament.
Keep giving to God.
Bottom line is this, the take away from this devotional should be… are you a living sacrifice ? What do you give to God?
Happy New Year
Give 100%, not 10%. That is what God is after! He owns the whole thing anyway.
Please don’t tell people that the tithe isn’t for today if you aren’t going to give your proof along side that claim. Since you have claimed this as fact, I ask you to please either withdraw your claim or present your detailed proof that supports your claim that “First, we are not obligated to the Mosaic Covenant. These people were. But we are not. We are obligated to a New Covenant. Therefore, we do not tithe to the Temple as they did.”. I’m not saying you are right or wrong, but as a spiritual leader you should never give your opinion without biblical support that is incontrovertible. A lot of men follow your Devo and take what you say as Truth. I’m just asking you to be more mindful of giving out information such as “we don’t need to tithe” without any explanation is potentially damaging to someone who believes it is needful. Please contact me if you’re angry or unsure of the point I’m striving to make. As a fellow spiritual leader, I understand the burden of teaching sound doctrine in a proper context and setting. Be Blessed, Sir.
Steve, thanks for writing. And I appreciate your strong opinion. Thank you.
But all the proof you need is in this present text. Tithes (animal offerings) were required to be given to the Temple by the tribes of Israel based on Mosaic Law. The temple no longer exists. We are under a New Covenant as New Testament believers.
I am unaware of any present situation where tribes bring animals as tithe offerings to a Temple that does not exist.
Jesus, he is the Lamb. He is the final offering. Giving, not tithing, in the call of the New Testament.
The first time we see someone give a tithe is in Genesis chapter 14. Abram (before God changed his name to Abraham) has returned from a successful raid to take back his nephew Lot who was kidnaped in a battle between several kings. Not only did Abram get his nephew back, but he completely defeated the army that took him and captured all the spoils of war that the army had too.
Then in verse 18 of that chapter Abram encounters a guy named Melchizedek, who is an unusual king and priest. Let’s pick it up there.
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said:
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.— Genesis 14:18-20
Melchizedek is a priest of God. And Abram gave him a tithe of what he gained in battle.
It’s worth noting that God never commanded Abram to tithe. As far as scripture is concerned he did it simply because he wanted to.
Later in the Old Covenant law God does command the Israelites to tithe. But Abram was long before the law and tithed of his own free will. He tithed of the spoils, which also included not just livestock and grains, but all of those riches – silver and gold, or money.
In the Old Covenant tithing was required. That’s no longer the case for us as part of the New Covenant because we are free from the curse of the law. But did He also free us from the Blessing of that covenant?
There is no punishment associated with not tithing. Instead, when we choose to tithe from our own free will, it releases God to be able to actively act on our behalf in two very specific ways. He can then open up additional heavenly blessings into our lives and our finances. And he can act on our behalf to prohibit the devourer from wasting away our finances.
You absolutely do not have to tithe. We are stewards of all we have and yes, it all belongs to God. We also are free to choose to tithe and give offerings to which there are promises attached. God will still love you just as much whether you tithe or not. As in the parable of the prodigal son, The Father told his son, “All that I have is yours!”
My sentiments exactly as I could not have said it any better.
Prayers for you, Trent, and everybody including Vince Miller as we head into a new year, 2023. A year that the Lord has prepared for us.
Well said Trent, Amen!
This is hard for me. To remember I own nothing. Not even my life, not “life” as in house, job, position, blah blah what have you….but my LIFE, breath, existence eternal. His. Boughten. (Maybe not a word but I use it anyway) Paid for with a price. How very terrible I feel when I wrongfully think I am “owed” something, nay anything! from anyone. How dare I want for anything other than to do my darndest to show my love and appreciation for the one who loved me before I even acknowledged Him. Lord God may my only desire be for your will in my life. This is my earnest prayer. And forgive my unbelief and lack of faith that you will provide everything I actually need which is well above anything I deserve.
Couldn’t agree more! You nailed it Trent!
Amen and Amen.
Amen. A great reminder to us all.