“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse…and test Me now in this…if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10
Some folks are skeptical of preachers who talk about what believers should give. Yet, they listen intently to ones who talk about what believers can gain. How you think about money largely determines how you live. So, what do you expect in return when you give? Those expectations either draw your attention to wealth or to worship.
Under the Old Covenant there was a legal requirement to give. Under the New Covenant, however, grace drives our giving. It’s not about what God wants from us, but understanding what He’s done for us. In other words, we give in response to His grace, not in an effort to earn it or any other kind of reward.
Of course, the principle that God rewards faithful and generous giving is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. God challenged Israel to test Him, and promised to reward their obedience to give (Malachi 3:10). Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you…For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” And 2 Corinthians 9:6 tells us, “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
So, does that mean you should expect a monetary return when you give? Keep in mind that God is most concerned with our spiritual condition. He measures our gifts and His rewards by their eternal value, which is far greater than the temporary things we tend to pursue. And the rewards we seek set the course for the decisions we make.
Trusting God with our daily needs is a far cry from expecting Him to bestow material wealth. The prosperity gospel borders on approaching God as if we’re investors looking for a good return. On the other hand, if we view God as our loving heavenly Father, we trust not only that He will provide but also in how He provides.
Do you give in grateful recognition of what Christ has done on your behalf, or in hopes that He will give something back? While the prosperity gospel draws our attention to wealth, gracious giving draws us to worship the Lord Jesus. We give as an act of love, and because it reflects the heart, mind, and hands of Christ.