Wednesday of the 21st week after Trinity: Malachi 1.
Malachi 1 is YHWH’s Covenant lawsuit against Israel, in which He charges His people with failing to reciprocate His special love for them, and with despising his feasts and offerings, “the table of YHWH.” He has loved Jacob, and hated Esau. Yet Jacob (Israel) has not returned His love. YHWH threatens, “I will not accept an offering from your hands. For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles.” As a Christian, it is impossible to read this chapter and not see the fulfillment in Jesus’ table, which is opened to Gentiles on equal terms, and in the ministry of the apostle Paul, “to provoke Israel to jealousy.”
The chapter also contains a salutary reminder not to give God our leftovers, the scraps and remainders of what is left after our selfishness: “You bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick.” Israel was using the worship of YHWH as a convenient way to cull the worthless livestock from its herds.
What comes first? Our convenience and pleasures? Or God? How do we give to Him? Grudgingly, or with pleasure? Is it a “weariness” to us when the offering basket comes down our pew?
I am not an advocate of tithing as an obligation for Christians, because the priesthood is universal, so that the recipients of the tithe already have all the money. (Pastors are not Levitical priests, so the tithe does not apply.) But if we do not cheerfully and generously give to the church, and support our pastors even if it means giving more than 10%, then we are demonstrating that we despise the Table of the Lord.