Does God Have Your Heart?
Like most children, my oldest daughter loves to be thrown in the air. When she was less than a year old, I would toss her just a little bit and catch her. Then, I’d hear her say, “More! More!” Now she’s five and a half so her sense of adventure is quite a bit bigger. She still likes to be caught, but now she likes to jump from our staircase into my arms. She usually jumps from the fourth stair and says, “More! More!” There have been a couple times recently when she was feeling extra brave. She would jump from the fourth stair and then decide to go up to the fifth. The fifth stair was higher than she thought and the jump was farther than she thought. It took a lot of faith for her to jump from the fifth stair. I would tell her to know that I would NOT let her fall.
“I’ll catch you. You can trust me. Try it, and you’ll see.”
She got nervous, looked me in the eye, asked if I was sure, and then…she jumped.
As her dad, I love that she trusted me enough to jump in that moment. I knew she was nervous, but she knew I wouldn’t let her fall so she went for it. I also loved that for those moments right before she jumped, my mind was on NOTHING else. I wasn’t worried about work, bills, chores, heartaches, frustrations, or concerns. All I was focused on was catching my girl because I wanted her to know that when she tried me, she could trust me.
When many people hear messages on the topic of giving and tithing, they feel like the church’s request for giving is always “More! More!” It’s not about the church wanting more of our money. It’s about God wanting more of our devotion. In Malachi 3:10, God says,
“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.”
He knows that it takes a lot of faith to be obedient and give tithes to Him. For some of us, we trust God in other areas in our lives, but struggle with the area of our finances specifically. It’s almost like we’re stuck on the fourth stair of our faith.
But, that’s why God challenges us in this verse. He wants us to go to the next stair of faith by trusting Him in ALL areas of our lives including our finances. He knows that if He has our finances; He has our hearts. He sees how scared we may be because the fifth stair feels higher than we thought and the jump is farther than we thought. But, He tells us, “I’ll catch you. You can trust me. Try it, and you’ll see.” That’s why He says, “Test me in this.” He wants us to know that when we try Him, we can trust Him.
You may not be at that point yet. But take it one stair at a time. As you keep being obedient, you’ll keep learning more about His faithfulness in every area of your life. Then, you’ll get the exhilarating feeling of trusting Him wholeheartedly and you’ll learn to love being caught in the arms of God so much that you’re likely to say, “More! More!” And once we take hold of that kind of faith, you can get over your nervousness, look Him in the eyes, know that He’s sure, and then…you jump.
Throughout the week:
This weekend, Pastor Jeff continued our “We Are Generous” series by talking about giving our firstfruits to God and tithing regularly.
- Read Malachi 3:8-12. Notice that there is an act of obedience and a promise of blessing. Why is it important to note that obedience comes before the blessing? How does this reveal our level of trust in God?
- In what ways have you “tested” God in the area of giving Him your tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:10)? How did He respond?
- What are some practical steps you can take to increase your level of giving to an actual 10% tithe to the church? If you are already tithing, how can you increase your ability to give an offering over and above the tithe?