Life At Its Best: Accepting God's challenge leads to blessings
By Jim Graff
I did pretty well in school, but every now and then, I'd be stumped by a test that made me certain the teacher had it out for me. In those moments, I often thought to myself, "I bet he couldn't even pass this test. It's way too hard." I wanted to walk up, put the paper on his desk and say, "You take it."
Thank God, I never actually did that. I knew it wasn't the respectful thing to do, and I also knew I'd be getting a whippin' from my dad if I did.
So as a new Christian, you can bet my surprise when I read Malachi 3.
In verse 10, God instructs us to bring our tithe to his house. But he doesn't stop there; he goes as far as to offer us a challenge.
He says, "Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Did you catch that? God's giving us permission to test him. But don't expect to stump him because God doesn't fail. He can't. When he promises to do something, you can bet it'll be done perfectly. You can trust it'll result in something more beautiful than you could've ever imagined.
Now, I'm not saying that giving up that first 10 percent is easy to do.
Especially in the midst of tough economical circumstances, it can be hard to grasp the benefits of giving. There is a sense of hesitancy and uncertainty that naturally comes with letting go.
If you've ever had a child leave for college, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Just watching my kids pull out of the driveway instantly brings tears to my eyes, causing me to wonder, "Where did the time go?"
But do you know what helps me in those moments? I recognize that I'm releasing them for God's purposes. I'm letting go of them so that God can use them in the way he desires.
That's exactly what happens when we choose to release our money for the purposes of God.
We may think we know the best use for our finances just as we do with our children. But God's purposes are much higher and more fulfilling than any plans we could create on our own.
I don't know about you, but I don't plan on being ashamed when I get to Heaven. I'm not going to look at the price Jesus paid and compare it to the price I wasn't willing to pay.
I'd much rather show my gratitude and in return be blessed by an amazing provider. Wouldn't you?
If so, then I encourage you to accept God's challenge. Give to him, and see if he won't bless you more than you expect. I can tell you from experience, you won't be sorry.
Letting go may be hard, but the rewards are far worth it. So go ahead, test him.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.