Full Storehouses or Ornate Museums

Malachi 3:10

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts; see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

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Not too long ago we toured the Vatican and other religious sites in Rome. Only upon reflection do I begin to see how the beauty of these cathedrals and church buildings too easily become museums and spectacles rather than storehouses of blessings for God’s people. The art is wonderful. The architecture is amazing. The scale is inspiring. But the purpose is lost on me. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy seeing these things. And I want to be careful not to judge too harshly. But there is something not quite right about turning a house of prayer into a museum for gawkers.

The Lord, through Malachi, speaks of bringing the whole tithe to the house of the Lord. He promises that then his storehouses will be filled with food. Surely it is God’s intent that this food do more than rot away in storage. The abundance of blessing is for the benefit of the people: the priests, the caretakers, and the poor.

There is a great blessing to be experienced when the church has sufficient funds to supply the needs of the poor. It is a delightful experience to provide help when it is urgently needed. A church with sufficient funds is not an end in itself. The bountiful sowing and reaping of financial blessing is to be a testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness, not an opportunity to hoard wealth or line the walls or pockets of the church and her servants.

Lest we become too smug in all this, let us be certain to give generously, sowing for abundant blessings to the glory of God and the benefit of our neighbor.

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