Malachi 3 is a big chapter. If you’ve been in church for any length of time you’ll be familiar with the passage that says, “Would a man rob God?” The rest of that passage challenges us to test God’s faithfulness by giving our tithes and offerings. Those are important principles to learn. We don’t give to receive. We don’t give out of compulsion or coercion. The truth is, we don’t even give because the church needs our money. We give because we need to learn to give. One of God’s goals for his people is that we would learn to be generous. Generosity is quality of character that can be developed. Systematic, percentage giving is the discipline that strengthens that quality of character much like running strengthens your cardiovascular system. If you’re not systematically giving away a percentage of your income to some good godly purpose on a regular basis I want to challenge you to begin. Generosity reveals a depth of love you’ll never fully grasp until you do.
But that’s not what I want us to focus on today. Malachi 3:3 says, “He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross…”
Malachi 3 begins with a prophecy about John the Baptist. It says that someone will come to prepare the way for the Savior. It then says the Savior will come and begin to refine his people into a worthy offering to God. With this in mind it reshapes our conversation about giving money to the church. God, through Jesus is refining you into an incredible offering to God. Did you catch that? Jesus, practicing the discipline of generosity, is creating an offering to give to his father. Here’s the best part, you are the gift Jesus intends to give.
Malachi 3 says that he is refining you like a refiner of silver. He puts you through the fire to remove the dross. The dross is all the useless parts of the metal, those parts that will never add value to anyone or anything. So often when we go through the fire we get distracted and discouraged by the dross in our lives. But here’s what’s important to remember, the purpose of the fire isn’t the dross. The purpose of the fire is the silver. The dross is discarded. What remains will be worth more than you can imagine.
I don’t know what fire you face today, but Jesus is refining you into an offering whose value is immeasurable. It’s not about the fire. It’s not about the dross. Truth be told, it’s not really even about the silver, but about the one who gives the gift and the one to whom the gift is given.
Today you may hurt because of the fire. You may feel like you’re swimming in dross. But hold on. Jesus is remaking you into a remarkable offering of inestimable value to be given to his father. As he presents you to God the windows of heaven will be open and the blessings of God will overflow. Let Jesus make much of you today. Practice the discipline of generosity. Recognize that you are being refined into Christ’s generous gift to his father and for that, you are worth more than you can possibly imagine.
Thank you for sending your son. Thank you for the fire you put me through to remove the dross from my life. I don’t like the fire. I regret the dross. But I look forward to the day you will present me to our father as a perfect offering. May each day I become shaped more closely to the image you have in mind for me. May I give to you and to others out of the abundance of what you have given me. May I learn generosity. May I give more than I think I can afford and trust you to provide. May I add value to your kingdom and to everyone I encounter today.
I love you, in Jesus name –