Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mine, Mine, Mine

Mine, Mine, Mine... hearing those words would probably lead you to believe that this was a post about my four year old daughter, who happens to be an only child and her inability to share.   While that is true at times.... this post is about us - the big kids.  Though I am talking about us, as adults, I can't help but play the scene from "Finding Nemo" over and over in my mind.
Our small groups at church are currently doing a bible study on the book of Malachi.  I will be honest, this is not a book that I have studied much in the past (honestly, I probably have never really studied it as a whole ever).  So much of the book of Malachi is about God's unchanging love and pursuit of His people, yet his people keep turning their backs on him, time and time again. They were doubting his covenant love for His people and not trusting in his ability to be just.  Malachi (which means messenger) calls on the people to return to following the law that God established.
The specific passage that we were studying was Malachi 3:6-12.

Breaking Covenant by Withholding Tithes

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,”says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 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. 11 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. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed,
for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.

God is calling His people to return to Him in verse seven.... but the people ask how are they to return... and God basically says - stop robbing me!  Return to me what is mine.  God asks us for the people to bring to the storehouse their tithe (most interpret that to be 10% of their money, their crops, etc.) and their offerings.  In our study we were asked why do you think God focused on the tithe and offerings?  As I thought about that question, I thought about how we as people love our money... we hold it near and dear to our hearts... our lives revolve around it... it can control us, it is one of the top reasons for marriage problems and divorce.... God was asking them to give something that took great sacrifice.  

So I started thinking about giving up my tithe and my offering, and the more I thought about it and discussed it with our group the more I realized.... it's not about what is mine to give up... because NOTHING I have is mine... I am just returning to God what is His.... that is obedience!  It was never mine to begin with, however as a sinful human I struggle to remember that what I have is not my own.

My money...is God's - therefore I need to give freely to others what God has blessed me with, even when I feel like I have nothing to give, I need to give as the widow did in scripture.

My house... is God's - therefore I need to use it to take in people who need a place to rest. I need to use it to invite in both friends and strangers to share God's love with.

My car ... is God's - therefore I need to be willing to share it with others.  I need to be willing to pick up people for church.  I need to be willing to deliver meals to new moms and shut-ins.

My child.... is God's - she is not mine... she is God's gift on loan to us.  She is God's child with whom we pray He will use to change the world, and share Christ wherever she may go... which means letting go, because she too is not mine.

Mine, Mine, Mine.... needs to change to Yours, Yours, Yours - God let that be my daily prayer and my daily offering to "the storehouse".  May we as a family use everything we have for Your Kingdom and for Your Glory, and not for our own.  

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