Stealing From the Collection Plate
A friend once told me about an unusual church service. When it came time for the offering, the pastor told the congregation not to put any money in the collection plate. In fact, the collection plates were full of one-dollar bills. As the plates were passed, he had everyone take a dollar. He said, “If you take money out of the kingdom of God—that is, not giving God a tithe—you need to be very careful with what you do with that dollar.”
When the congregation met the next week, they found that no one had spent the dollar they had taken from the collection plate. They not only wouldn’t touch it or spend it, the experiment had made them think about their tithe and offering. What do I do with money that is marked for God? Have I given God my tithe and offering first, before I start spending the money for other things? Am I robbing God? Am I robbing the church of its ability to bring more souls into the kingdom of God?
When we neglect to give God our first-fruits—His tenth, our tithe—we are taking money that might be used to save souls. Malachi 3:7,8 NKJV says, “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts….“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings,” says the Lord. Then the Lord tells us what tithing can do: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…and prove me now in this…if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (v. 10). God is ready to do His part; to bless us abundantly when we do our part, giving Him our first-fruits.