Week 48 Friday

Opening the Floodgates

Today’s scripture selection: Malachi

Key Verses: Malachi 3:6-12

Twenty-six centuries ago, God spoke to a people who said they wanted to “return” to Him.

You see, things weren’t going so well for them. Why? Because, as God put it, ever since “the time of your forefathers” they had turned away from Him; ignored Him; and not kept His decrees.

Now, they wanted reconciliation. He told them that, among other things, they needed to stop robbing Him.

Not surprisingly, they objected to the accusation. They protested, “How do we rob you?”

He said, “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 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….Then all nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land.”

Ever since those words came to the people by way of a prophet named Malachi – some have listened – and some have continued to turn away.

It’s not about “buying” God’s favor. It’s not about “Quid pro quo.” It’s about recognizing that everything is God’s – that He has graciously shared it with us – and that all He asks is that, for our own spiritual good, we thankfully return some of it as an offering; something to be dedicated to His glory and for His purposes. It’s about keeping our priorities straight and never forgetting that real, lasting blessing comes from Him. Twenty-six centuries later – people are still trying to learn that simple lesson.

Do people still try to “keep it all” for themselves? Do nations of the world, including your own, still forget and “rob” God in some ways? Is there still suffering and hardship where they might be “open floodgates” of blessing? I’ll let you answer those questions for yourself.

But it sure seems to me that if we could trust God just a little bit more…

Well, who knows what might happen.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes and ears and heart – so that I am a more generous, and cheerful, giver. AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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