Somewhere in audio cassette history is a recorded skit for Christian puppet shows called Pathetic Prayers. Pathetic Prayers were prayers that God should never hear from us. I remember one with the lead character Eggmont, a very small and meek sounding boy who once prayed that God would smite his bully “This Nelson Guy.”
However, the pathetic prayer called into mind today is one in which Eggmont thought he could put a dollar into the offering plate-uh and that because God repays good deeds ten-fold, that in a few weeks he would be able to get ten dollars back out of the offering plate-uh. I don’t remember the skit exactly, and unfortunately I couldn’t find it to listen to it again on the internet. Anyway not remembering this completely, what I remember is that Eggmont was praying as he laid his offering in the plate-uh that God would bless it ten-fold so that he could get $10 back, and that he would re-invest it in the offering plate-uh and over the course of several months of praying for ten-fold blessings, Eggmont planned to gain his ten-fold blessing of $1 million dollars, which of course, he would be able to take from the offering plate-uh.
Anyway, the original skit is an awful prayer that God should never hear, but the way Eggmont presented it was tremendously hilarious.
Ok. So maybe we don’t take money from the offering plate-uh. Maybe we don’t pray to be blessed ten-fold for our $1 offering on Sunday, intending to take $1 million from the church later. But we do rob God in similar ways. I’m not talking about robbing Him of proper offerings and tithes – although a premeditated hint would be that our scripture is about tithes and offerings—I’m talking about robbing Him of what He is due from our lives – our unwavering devotion.
As we go through our daily lives, how do we serve our Lord? Do you go through a day without mentioning God to someone, or do you go a day without praying and praising God for allowing you to wake up? To breathe? To be alive? Do you spend time each day praying and reading God’s Word? We, as Christians, can’t be a light that guides others to the true light of Jesus Christ, if we roguishly rob Him of our daily service?
Jesus himself told us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me,” – Luke 9:23 (New International Version).
Because of our obvious theft as individuals, our nation, founded on the principles of God despite what many claim, is also inherently guilty of denying God His due. A prophet of God wrote 400 years before Christ was born in the book of Malachi exactly how God is angered by this blatant disregard for He who is worthy of our worship.
“Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty – Malachi 3:7 In the Biblical occurrence of these words, the writer was talking to Jews who had turned away from being faithful to God. They were, as mentioned in Malachi chapter 1, promising pure animals for sacrifice to God but then bringing blind, lame and otherwise impure sacrifices.
But I think the verse above also relates true words about the United States of America, which is to say that “since the time of (our) forefathers (we) have turned away from (God).” But if we return to Him, He will return to us, as promised in His message of Malachi.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me.” – Malachi 3:8 – 10.
Sure, we seem to be a prosperous nation who has seen a slump, but a full-blown curse. As each new generation of Americans turns farther away from God, it can also be assumed that He will turn away from America in similar fashion. His blessings, which so obviously fell upon the American continent of our forefathers, seem to no longer fall on our nation as a whole.
Do I dare suggest that God doesn’t bless Americans? Of course not. God does bless those who faithfully serve Him. As mentioned along previous journeys, we have to have the faith to step out of the boat and walk with Him on the choppy waters of the world.
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God, What did we gain by carrying out His requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’” – Malachi 3:14 – 16.
It certainly seems that those who relish money and power above God are prospering. While today’s modern society has justified what are called “gray areas” about what sin is, God doesn’t see it as gray. He sees it as black and white. While someone who murders may be seen as worse than someone who lies on a job application, a.k.a. “padding your resume,” it is all sin in the eyes of God. While we as humans may blur the lines between morality and atrocity, God sees the line clearly.
As the verses above state, some believe it is pointless to worship God and to follow The Way of Christ; however there are great rewards for doing so. We are to conduct ourselves in a manner that upholds our Lord. We are to give ourselves to Christ in service and devotion and love, and one of the many things we get in return is that He will show us selfish humans what it means to honestly serve, how to be deeply devoted and how to truly love others.
As the Apostle Paul wrote to early followers of The Way, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,” – Philippians 1:27.
If some deem it useless to serve God, then why should we continue to follow Him – to follow the straight and narrow path? He will bless us abundantly.
“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “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.” – Malachi 3:10.
But aside from the blessings we will receive, we will accomplish something far greater by robbing Evil. By faithfully following Him we will be a blessing to others who need one. By loving as Christ loved us, we will guide someone else to His love.
And what will become of those who are righteous in the Lord?
“They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” – Malachi 3:17, 18.
It is so awesome; it is an incomparable heart emotion to know that you are His!