Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Revive Us Again"1 (Lyrics)
Malachi 3:10 – 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. (NRSV)
The other week, I received a letter from my bank, declaring that it would be making changes to my account.
This came as a surprise to me, so I asked God for His favour and rang my local branch. However, after a few minutes of conversing with the bank's assistant manager, my heart sank.
We had not met personally, so the young lady was reading my file and making assumptions about me based on the sparse information that was on her computer screen. I was not a money-maker for the bank, and it was evident from her brusque verbiage that she was sparing her sweet talking for the bank's rich clientele.
Then, out of nowhere, the assistant manager abruptly told me, "Mrs. Twooney, you should hold off giving monthly donations to your church for a while."
My forehead crinkled into a frown as I tried to decipher what she meant. What donations? Then, I realized that she was referring to my monthly tithe. Should I tell this lady that I was a Christian and as such, will honour God with my monthly tithe? Should I risk her ridicule?
With a voice as cool as a cucumber, but with my heart beating a nervous staccato rhythm in my chest, I replied to her, "They're not donations; that is my monthly tithe."
"What's a tithe?" she asked.
Okay, I thought. At least she didn't shoot me down.
"It's a biblical command where you give God the first 10% of your earnings," I replied tersely, steeling myself for a tirade of denunciation.
However, to my surprise, the young lady apologized to me for not knowing the purpose of my payments to the church. Her contriteness was evident in the way she stuttered and stumbled over her words.
Surprised and humbled at the change of her tone, I told the lady that she didn't have to apologize to me. However, I did inform her that I would continue paying my tithe regardless of the new conditions that my account had been placed in.
After I put the phone down, I thanked God for the change of the assistant manager's tone. However, I was also unsettled at how the modern world continues to distance itself further from the commands of God as they are set in the Bible.
Though I didn't receive the solution to my account that I had hoped for, I saw that God's greater purpose was to use that verbal exchange to show someone the relevance of God's Word in today's society. I am thankful that I bit the bullet and declared my faith to this lady.
Psalm 19:7 – The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple. (NRSV)
Are you feeling under pressure to live a life of faith and obedience to God in a broken world that hardly recognizes Him? In 1 John 4:4, we are told that "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (NRSV) Let the truth of God be our shield and buckler as we bring salt and light to the darkest corners of this world!
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, You breathed life into Your Word and built it on the foundation of Your perfect character. Help us to honour Your commandments, to trust in You, and not to lean on our own understandings, in a world that does not understand Your ways. Amen.