Will a Man Rob God?
In searching our soul in regard to what is fair to give to the Church, let us keep in mind the Word of God. Thus, in the book of prophet Malachi, 3, we find some remarkable insights about how the Lord looks to our giving to the Church. Please read it!
The prophet reveals to us that the Lord sees how his people are estranged from God and calls them back:
"Return to Me and I will return to you says the Lord of hosts" (3:7). We are the "new Israel"! When we disobey Him, we are estranged people.
Then He says: "Will a man rob God? Yet you have not robbed Me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed You? In tithes and offerings "(3:8). In other words, when we do not give our regular offerings to the Lord (which by divine justice belong to the Him, as the giver of all, that we have), we are robbing Him.
Further, the prophet tells us that: "You are cursed with a curse - for you have robbed me, even this whole nation" (3:9). Therefore, in as much as we do not offer our share from the blessings received from God, we rob Him and according to the prophet, we are also robbing the whole Christian nation (the Church).
Further, Malachi tells us that when we give with generosity (Tithing means a tenth of our income), God will bless us with abundance, in such ways that there will be no room to receive it:
"Bring ye all the tithes in the storehouse that there may be meat in, my house and prove me now herewith, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall be not room enough to receive it".
In our parish we practice the "dues" system. The Bible, however, never mentions annual dues. Our giving should come out as an expression of our deep gratitude to God; it should be unconditionally generous and proportional with the blessings we received from God. He who receives much shall give much, and he who receives little shall give less. No matter in what income bracket we may be, St. Paul reminds us to give with joy, not out of obligation, for "God loves the cheerful giver ".
If our giving is an imitation of God's gift to us, which is His Son - who gave His life that we might have life abundant - then we should never be accused of robbing God. The Book of Acts quotes a saying of our Lord who teaches us that "It is happier to give than to receive".
May God bless all those who hear His Word and follow it ! (borrowed from St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Cathedral Weekly Bulletin, Cleveland, OH, March 7, 2004)
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