Malachi 3:8 is often used as a stick to curse Christians who do not tithe. It is clear that Malachi had a poor image of God that is vastly different from what Jesus taught. Malachi teaches a small-minded and vengeful God who regards those who do not tithe as robbers and let the locus destroy their produce if tithes are not paid. Malachi wrote around 450 BC shortly before Nehemia's mission.
Jesus taught that God is our Father who never calls his children robbers just because they did not tithe.
|Malachi 3:8 Will anyone rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, "How are we robbing you?" In your tithes and offerings! 9You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me--the whole nation of you! 10Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing. 11I will rebuke the locust for you, so that it will not destroy the produce of your soil; and your vine in the field shall not be barren, says the LORD of hosts. 12Then all nations will count you happy, for you will be a land of delight, says the LORD of hosts.|
|What is the origin of tithing?
Abraham gave a tenth of all his loots to Melchizedek, King-priest of Salem (Jerusalem) around 1900 BC. This is the origin of tithing.
|Genesis 14:18 And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19He blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.|
|Would God be angry with me if I do not tithe?||
No. He is fully aware of, and sympathetic to your needs. Good parents are not upset when their children do not bring gifts or one-tenth of their income. Heavenly Father is far more understanding and merciful than any good parents. God sends rain even to the evil as well as to the good. God is not interested in your money or offering. He does not need it.
The church may need money for its upkeep. The Roman Catholic church needed money for building projects and programs. Costly constructions kindled the Reformation.
|What then is God interested?||
Heavenly Father desires to give good things to his children. He is primarily interested in your attainment of eternal life. While he provides the basic necessities, he does not want us to be attached to the riches lest we may fail to reach the Paradise. He has prepared a place for you in Paradise.
Tithing is neither necessary nor sufficient to gain passage to the Paradise and eternal life.
What must one do to gain eternal life?
That is exactly the question a rich young man asked Jesus. Jesus asked him whether he was keeping the commandments, which was no easy task but was apparently not good enough. This young man wanted to earn eternal life and be one of the Seventy but was disqualified.
In short, Jesus teaches us not to have any attachment to the riches.
Jesus makes it very clear that there is no halfway solution— to keep the riches and go to heaven too (have your cake and eat it too)! The rich young man was exactly trying to do both, and Jesus said no.
The rich man was probably a faithful tither, but it was not enough to guarantee him eternal life, let alone a membership in the Seventy. It is an all-or-nothing proposition. If we gain eternal life, we obtain everything. If we do not, we lose everything, even the worldly assets which we cannot take with us in any case.
To attain eternal life, as Paul eloquently demonstrated with his life, one needs to abandon the riches and follow Jesus. Otherwise, we may be lured into a false sense of security.
Should I give all my assets to the church?
Jesus was not that specific. "Give the money to the poor," i.e., to those who are less fortunate. You are the best person to determine how to use the money to help the poor.
Mark 10:17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 18Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.' " 20He said to him, "Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth." 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
28 Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." 29Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,f 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age —houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.
Andrew and Peter were the first apostles that followed Jesus.