Malachi 3:6-12 MSG/NET
“I am God—yes, I Am. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed and do not go back on my promises, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven’t done a thing I’ve told you. Return to me so I can return to you,” says God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the Lord who rules over all.
“You ask, ‘But how do we return?’
“Begin by being honest. Do people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
“You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’
“The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. You are bound for judgment because you are robbing me – this whole nation is guilty. Bring your full and entire tithe to the storehouse so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams…until there is no room for it all. For my part, I will defend you against marauders and pillagers, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.” says the Lord who rules over all.
“All nations will call you happy, for you indeed will live in a delightful land. You’ll experience what it’s like to be a country of grace.” the Lord who rules over all says so.
Ok…let’s go back…way back…back into time!!
I remember getting Malachi 3:6-12 a long time ago. I’ve never had an actual issue with tithing, but receiving that Word from God solidified it…and me and God ain’t had NO problem with the 10 percent (or whatever percent or amount he told me to give) since. I also, later on in my Christian journey God told me to fast from “shopping” and “no meats”. At the time, I had just left my job and the only thing I could buy was food. So if you wanted to find me somewhere, I was usually in the supermarket. Plus, at the time, I had remembered my Pastor saying that if you were having a serious sexual affliction, that fasting from meats would usually help.
Fast forward….within the last maybe 3-4 months, I kept getting Malachi 3:6-12 and/or that fast (somewhere along the line I had decided to tape the shopping one and the meat one together). It was on repeat for some reason. I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about cause I always give my tithe purely in whatever amount he asked…sometimes I would ask if I could do more. And with the shopping/meats, I didn’t really get it cause I obviously hadn’t been shopping and I learned that the meat wasn’t my problem (*topic for another day).
I didn’t get it until this past week and until after Revvie preached a sermon from this set of scriptures. On July 12, He told me that for 7 days there was again to be no shopping and no meat. I was like “oh boy, here we go”. I didn’t get it cause…again…I don’t shop. Especially since after a year of my rent being covered, now I’m expecting an eviction notice with no conceivable way out. So seriously, where was I going? Mind you, at the same time, I can’t do meat. And when I looked in my fridge, that’s pretty much all I had – at least to last me for 7 days. My veggie supply was real low. So I was like – “hold up…how am I gonna eat when these last asparagus spears are gone?? 7 days??” And as usual, he said “my grace is sufficient for you my child”.
As I walked through this week, he ain’t lie. I realized just how many LITTLE things I do to “shop” meaninglessly. Without thinking about it I’ll go to Rite Aid (where I don’t have the lil club card) and buy a Gatorade at full price just because it’s near the train. I’ll go to the dollar store and before I know it, I’ve spent $5 unnecessary dollars. The most expensive thing to get at the supermarket IS the meat, and even though I love my vegetables, all of a sudden I’ve really had a taste for a steak — and I get it only because I know I can. Cause if I was spending my “own money”, I wouldn’t be running to the store looking for a strip more than once a month.
Back to the 7 Day fast. I just came off the fast on Friday…and it was like I couldn’t WAIT to get to the store. Granted, that day there was stuff I actually needed. But somehow Saturday morning, I found myself at the mall. The mall I hadn’t been to in probably a year or more. Oh…wait…I wound up there in the first place cause I had talked myself into going to Old Navy for some flip flops. And I don’t even really wear flip flops, but somehow I thought that was a good idea. God laughed. Cause when I got there I found out that they had actually taken the whole Old Navy conglomerate completely out of the mall. But instead of catching the hint and leaving, I just started wandering aimlessly…almost LOOKING for something to buy. It’s been a loooooooooooooong time since I could consider going to Wendy’s and even getting a small fry and it was like all that stuff just kept calling me. Oooooh, I can get a Jamba Juice….OOOOOOOh, I can get a Cinnabon…..OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH, I can go find a new bracelet in Forever 21. I’m sure somebody thought I was crazy cause I got to a point where I just stopped in the middle of the mall and said out loud…”GET OUTTA HERE…YOU DON’T NEED NONE OF THIS STUFF!! GO HOME DOOFUS!!!”
Ok, so that’s the story. Now to the point. It ain’t my 10 that God’s concerned about. It’s my 90. There are a few things I know God knows about me for sure. Because I didn’t have anything left over for a long time and/or I didn’t know WHEN I’d be getting a re-up, I stayed asking God what to do with that 90. And I never made an unnecessary move or did anything frivolous unless HE said it was ok first. When I needed winter boots, I ASKED for them. And I ain’t get them until He said YES. When I had to choose between getting a MetroCard or bus fare, He told me how to split up the little money I had and then got me the rest. He never failed. Never. I’m also a hoarder. I had a habit of shorting somebody, not because I didn’t have it but to hold on to something “just to make sure” cause you never know who’s gonna ask for what when, and I’d rather be able to say I have XYZ than nothing at all. Then when I didn’t have a choice but spend everything, I was ok with letting it go — cause at that point, I didn’t have a choice. But faith don’t have to hoard, so I learned to let it go because I KNEW he had me, not just cause it was my only option. I liked it there. It was actually peaceful.
But it became crystal clear this weekend, that if I’m not careful…I can slide right back into the nonsense. The nonsense He was patient enough to deliver me from. Cause even though I ain’t remotely in the clear yet, I can see the opening. When I didn’t have 2 shekels to rub together, He never denied me anything I needed. Not food, Not shelter. Not transportation. And just because there’s a small glimmer of light in my tunnel, my situation is still helpless. I have to remember that it’s HIM connecting all the dots. PLUS, I know that I’ve asked him to do the impossible and remove my debt. And frankly, I know that He ain’t gonna help me get debt free only for me to go back into bondage again. Cause it’s one thing to dedicate your 90 to Him because you don’t have a choice, but it’s a complete ‘nother to dedicate it to him because even THAT belongs to Him and whether your 90 is $1 or $1 MILLION dollars, HE knows what He can do with it – and it would completely blow your mind.