Will a man rob God?
7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts.
12 And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts.
3 Nephi 24:7-12
Will a man rob God? This question from the book of Malachi have been read countless times in the course of teaching the principle of tithing. This past week in my scripture reading for my Book of Mormon class, I read these words in 3 Nephi chapter 24. Why, we might ask, did the Savior command the Nephites to include these scripture in their record? It was quite the under taking as they had to transcribe them while the Savior dictated the verses.
I don’t know if this is the exact answer but it is clear to me that tithing is just that important. So why then didn’t the Savior just teach the principles of tithing to them? We can’t know for sure since He offered no explanation but there must have been something about the revelation on this that Malachi received that warranted being included. In any case, I have chosen to write about tithing because of it.
I know for many the law of tithing is a difficult one to keep. I have always just looked at it as a requirement and paid a full tithe. When I was young, I wanted to be able to go to the temple so that was a motivating factor. As I got older and particularly after marrying my wife, I then saw tithing as a way of obtaining the blessing that would ensure I would be able to provide for my family. I can testify that the Lord has kept that particular part of His promise quite perfectly in my life.
This time as I studied these verses, I noticed something. In most talks and lessons on tithing we read the promises by starting in verse 8. Well, I think one of the best promises for me at this point in my life is in verse 7. In that verse the Lord says “Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith th Lord of Hosts.”
Well, how about that? Here is a simple phrase that gives us a key to receiving the Lord back into our lives. I can tell you that I know what it’s like to be separated from Heavenly Father and wanting Him to return. Here we have a promise that doesn’t sound so monetarily related. I have always looked at tithing as a thing that ensured me sufficient success that my family and I would be taken care of. Here in verse 7 we learn that the law of tithing is something more.
What learning do I take away from this? It’s that tithing isn’t about money or worldly goods, it’s about doing something that brings about a change in us as long as we do it with good intent. That internal change is so important to me as I come to better understand that for this purpose was I sent into this world. This new understanding of tithing will change how I keep the commandment to pay tithes. It won’t cause me to pay more nor will it cause me to do so with any more happiness. It will however change what I expect to receive as a result of paying my tithing.