Monday, October 15, 2007

Tithes and windows

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine 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." (Malachi 3:10)

There is so much to work with in this Bible passage. I love to spend time thinking about this wonderful promise, what is required of me, and what I can expect in return.

Bible scholars believe that Malachi is not a proper name but a possessive pronoun signifying 'My messenger'. It is the final book of the Old Testament. Malachi does not look for a Messiah upon the throne of David to deliver Israel, but for the restoration of that communion with God which existed when He led His people in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night.

A tithe represented one 10th part of one's income to be used as tribute to God. It was not a tax but a gift for sacred purposes. So to comply with the spirit of this scripture, I ask myself several things. What exactly is it that I want to 'tithe' to God? Where do I think the storehouse is? Am I truly expecting the 'windows' of heaven' to open for me? Incidently, I love the idea that windows is plural. I already tithe anything that comes in from my practice as my donation to church. But I also try to tithe my activities by devoting time each day to prayer and personal study.

So where is this storehouse? As someone wisely asks in one of the Star Trek movies, 'Why does God need a star ship?" Why would God need a storehouse for my tithes? Everything I have comes from Him in the first place. Remember Cain and Abel? Abel knew that the increase in his flocks came from God and he gave back what had been God's. Cain seems to have resented giving up the best part of the crop he worked hard to produce. I think the storehouse is my own thinking and the way I am living Christian Science in my own life.

When God opens up the windows of heaven, He is pouring out on me an unlimited supply of blessings, given freely from His inexhaustible source. The fact that there are many windows shows the infinite number of ways this supply can come to me. And it is often from unexpected sources. Sometimes we think we know how somthing is going to be resolved or how some need is going to be met and we focus our prayers on seeing things work out that way. Perhaps it is better to leave the details to Him. He can open any window He wants to.

Mrs. Eddy defines 'tithe' as gratitude. Do I find 10 things a day to be grateful for? Have I thanked divine Love 10 times for things big and small that occured today? Sometimes we need to be truly grateful for what we already have before we are ready to be given more.

Tithe in peace.

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