A Larger Shovel – Malachi 3

Who can outgive God?

It has been said that no one can outgive the Lord, for whatever charitable gift we shovel His way, He will return it back to us using a larger shovel.  But there is a caveat – do it discreetly, or the praise of other people will suffice as our reward.

As Jesus taught:

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.  Matthew 6:1-4 (NKJV)

As the writings of the Old Testament drew to a close with the prophet Malachi, he shared God’s message regarding the importance of faithful giving.  Moses had spelled out in the Old Testament law that God expected ten percent, or a tithe, of all income.  This amount should be returned to take care of the needs of the temple and the poor out of love and gratitude for the countless blessings the Lord has given us.  Many New Testament believers go beyond that amount today and have seen the windows of heaven open for them.  As Malachi wrote:

10  Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“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.

11  “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the Lord of hosts;

12  “And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the Lord of hosts.  Malachi 3:10-12 (NKJV)

Jesus expanded upon the concept of quiet, generous, and faithful giving in His teachings:

38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  Luke 6:38 (NKJV)

Like so many other things on our faith walk, such as with sincere prayer for another, we may not even notice God’s returned blessings and benefits until He points them out to us.  The Lord is not saying here “give and you will automatically become materially wealthy”.  I believe He is saying “be faithful and a little sacrificial in your obedient giving out of love for me and others, and I will make extra sure that you get everything you need when I see that you need it.  And I will rebuke those that seek to strip you of your sustenance”.

New Testament giving is less dogmatic than the strict ten percent, pre-tax, tithe spelled out in the law of Moses.  Many believers today give 10% of their income for their home church and go beyond that in supporting widows, orphans, and other faithful missionaries.  Giving is to be done in secret with the amount chosen strictly between a family and God.

With many unpaid bills and few funds available, it takes a great step of faith to even begin the process of working towards the giving of a tithe.  Many find that as the purse strings loosen towards God, the clutches of debt and unpaid bills seem to loosen, as well.  One step leads to another, and the stress of financial insecurity begins to dissipate.  Eventually, we reach the point where we can ask ourselves the question, “How big of a shovel do I choose to use for God”?


Lord, teach me to give faithfully, generously, and discretely, with love and gratitude.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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