"Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8).

When our children were young, we felt convicted by God to teach them the principle of tithing. We incorporated this lesson into our homeschooling and purchased little, white glow-in-the-dark church banks in which they could place their dimes, quarters, nickels, and pennies. When they earned money for chores or received money as gifts, we taught our children how to determine one tenth of the amount and place it into their bank. They loved the sound of the dropping coins and felt so grown up as they placed their own money into the offering plate each Sunday at church.

As time went by, we thought the habit of tithing had been firmly established in our children. We expected them to be diligent in giving part of their hard-earned money from part-time jobs to the Lord. However, the temptations to buy new CDs, videos, clothes, and teenage toys proved to be too strong. One day I noticed all my son's new purchases, and I wondered where the money had come from to buy them. I questioned whether or not he had been tithing, and he sheepishly confessed that he had not.

Stealing from God isn't a new temptation. Years ago, the sons of Eli the priest in 1 Samuel 2 thought they could steal God's portion of the offerings being presented by the people of Israel. Although the priests were entitled to receive a portion of the offering for themselves (Leviticus 7), Eli's sons were confiscating the choicest part of the offering, which was to be given to God. God's rebuke for this sin was a judgment that was swift and sure. Both of his sons saw death on the same day (1 Samuel 2:34).

What about you? Are you robbing God of His portion of your family's income? With all the bills and homeschooling expenses for each month, the temptation to steal what belongs to God is just as strong today. Take God at His Word instead and claim the promise of Malachi 3:10: "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."

Lord, give me strength this day to make a change in the way we spend our money. I know all the blessings we have are from You. Guard my heart against the temptation to take Your portion for me and let my actions and faith honor You. In Jesus' name, Amen.