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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

There is No Honor Among Thieves

What a way to start a Monday. I walked into my church to discover it had been robbed. A phone call from a neighbor later in the day let me know that around three a.m. she was awakened by a loud car and saw three people in a Grand Am, or “that kind of car,” had found the side door off of our boxing gym was ajar, and took advantage of it to steal into the church. They grabbed musical instruments and equipment, as well as the computer speaker system—right off my desk—then snuck off into the night. As word spread of the theft, the expected response ensued.

“How can people steal from God? How can anyone stoop so low as to steal from a church!?”

I heard several versions of that and, I concur that robbing the House of God is wrong. Dead wrong. And I am thankful that there are requests out to help us replace the stolen property, with some responses already coming back of promises to assist us in restocking our Praise Band’s much needed equipment.

My higher, spiritual take on the situation, though, is this: there is no honor among thieves. You see, I have thieves in my church—I believe every church has thieves in it, and we all know thieves will steal from each other and be stolen from. What am I talking about? Let me refer you to Malachi 3:6-11 (The Message)
Verses 6-7-

“I am God—yes, I Am. I haven't changed. And because I haven't changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven't been destroyed. You have a long history of ignoring my commands. You haven't done a thing I've told you. Return to me so I can return to you," says God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

You ask, “But how do we return?”

Verses 8-11 –
"Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. "

You ask, “How have we robbed you?”

"The tithe and the offering—that's how! And now you're under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you're robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers."

My church is not atypical – it is all too typical when it comes to tithing. Most studies find that the average church receives 2-3% in “tithing.” The tithe, by the way, is 10%. That’s right. Ten cents out of every precious dollar you earn is not yours it belongs to God. If you are not tithing to God then you are a thief. Since my church has thieves in it, I cannot be surprised when other thieves don’t respect it and steal from it.

"B-b-but, hey—w-wait a minute, Pastor Dana … that’s not the same thing!" you say ...

Really? I have people call me 24/7 when they are in crisis (funny how they don’t call when life seems to be going well, just to ask me how I am doing), who haven’t tithed into the church. As they rob God, they rob me; they rob from others in the church, their families. as well as their community. Over my many years of pastoring I have seen in the church people helping themselves to church supplies. Most of these same individuals are people who rarely give anything at all to the church.

Trust me, I have seen just about all there is when it comes to observing the selfishness and ‘thievery’ so ubiquitous amongst those who would call themselves ‘Christians.’ From being a child in a parsonage where people came over unannounced, intruding into my parents’ personal lives as if it were not their own to have, to living in one where people will walk in and help themselves to my food without the courtesy or respect to ask first—I have seen the selfish, thoughtlessness of man, even (especially?) those who claim to follow the Way of Christ, and, well … I am therefore not at all surprised when thieves strike in my church.

Is God going to “get them?” Those terrible thieves who took from our church? Hmm … a particular scripture comes to mind.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7 (NKJV)

In time, the crooks who struck my church will reap what they have sown—all the thieves, that is. Make no mistake, even if you are a regular church attendee or a person who does all sorts of good deeds, if you are not one who tithes, well, then ...
You. Are. A. Thief.

And you will reap what you have sown.

I have a simple challenge to all you thieves out there – tithe. Give 10% to your church. If you do not attend a church, then tithe into a godly work. The book of Malachi is the only place in the Bible where God says it is acceptable to test Him, and that test was in the tithe.

So go ahead … I triple dog dare you to start tithing! Will it result in never-a-bad-thing-happening-to-you-ever again? Nope. Can’t promise that, and please don’t be so naive as to expect that. What it will do is open up heaven itself and you will find yourself blessed to abundance. What that ‘abundance’ means is a message for another time, another post, but a quick interjection here on abundance: it is not always found in your bank account.

You want to debate this issue with me? Fine, but with one hard and fast prerequisite. Start tithing. Test the divine system for yourself. For the next six months, give your tithe duly and regularly to the church. Then get back to me and we’ll talk!

Keep the Faith ...

Pastor Dana


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Stanley said...

Well said, Pastor Dana - very enlightened view of 'thievery.' I don't go to or have a church, but I DO give - AT LEAST 10% to, as you put it, "godly works" - non-profit charities and organizations that help the underprivelaged. In fact, in the secular world, especially those "in the know" in the business world, lots of my friends included, it is basic, common knowledge that in order to become wealthy (with true, lasting wealth) you have to GIVE. It's called "seed money" or "God money". Simple karma at work.

Enjoyed your post, as usual...

Pastor Dana said...

@ Stanley - could you imagine what we could do if everyone understood the power of giving in such away? Blessings to you for the seeds you sow into fertile ground.

Marvin D Wilson said...

Stan, good for you. I once was mentored in Real Estate entreprenurialism by a very successful man ... he gave me this little green book and required me to read it. It was titled, "Seed Money." He said basically what you commented about - that when you sow seeds into (the book called it "the universe") God's Kingdom, you reap a tenfold harvest. That man gave 30% of all his earnings away - to his church, various charities, and individuals in need.

Pretty cool. It really works!

Paul Howey said...

Marvin.. Do you know where to get this little green book?

The Old Silly said...

Yes. The full name is "Seed Money - The Law of Tenfold Return and How it Works", and it is on sale on for about $16. The buy page is at:

Marvin D Wilson

The Old Silly said...

Ooops, I meant to hyperlink the link for click and go convenience. Here ya go! :-):