January 18, 2006

God's Presence Through Obedience

Malachi 3:6-12

"Test me in this ... and see if I will not ... pour out so much blessing ..." Malachi 3:10


God's people living in the days of Malachi were in for a surprise. They felt that God had left them, but they could not understand why. The prophet Malachi explained: God had turned his back on them because they were stealing from God by withholding their resources. Some of God's people living today wonder why they don't experience God's presence and closeness. Some wonder why God does not seem to bless them the way he has promised. The answer may be found in Malachi 3. Perhaps they have been stealing from God by refusing to return to God a small part of what he has entrusted to them. Some people feel that the church has no business talking about money. Some people think that whether or not we give back to God has nothing to do with our relationship with God. The Bible tells us, however, that the way we use our money and resources has everything to do with our relationship to God. By refusing to give back to God from what he first gives us, we push God out of our lives, and we deprive ourselves of some of the greatest blessings God has in store. Let's make sure we return to God by giving back from all he has given. And God will "pour out so much blessing that [we] will not have room enough for it."

Father in heaven, help us to be good stewards this year. Keep us from taking what belongs to you. Help us give faithfully for the work of your kingdom. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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