December 6: Malachi 3:6-12
In Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man,” he gives a glimpse of our current situations, whatever they may be, when he said:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
The poet realizes that we are always looking to the future with an expectation of fulfillment, and yet we are jittery and uneasy that our hopes won’t be fulfilled the way we expected; that things will go awry, and that we may wind up in worse situations than those we presently occupy. Therefore, we often are not really content with the blessings we already have, whether they be national, financial, or egotistical!
As Christians we know that God’s love and message are for and to everyone, regardless of race, creed, or nationality, and that love binds us in one great fellowship. Yet we struggle with how to treat our fellow humans who are different from us, how to maintain our favored positions without excluding those less fortunate, and how much we are willing to give to ease the suffering of God’s people here at home, in California in the wake of the devastating fires, in Puerto Rico where people still don’t have the necessities of life, on our southern border where thousands are beseeching us for help, or in war-torn lands in Yemen, Syria, and around the world.
Giving is not an easy decision. Do we give of our abundance or give sacrificially? Don’t we need to take care of ourselves first? What if we fall on hard times ourselves? Our prosperity, no matter how great, somehow seems tentative, and we fear recession and want, even when we know God will take care of us no matter what befalls us. Malachi 3: 6-12 reminds us that these fears need not plague our contentment, that we can rest assured that our hopes for the future are in God’s hands, and that, no matter what comes, God tells us “I am the Lord—I do not change” (v.6). The following verses assure us that even when we fail to live up to our side of the bargain, God forgives us, and as long as we serve him, live as his people, and fulfill his commands and instructions to us, he promises to pour out his blessings on us far greater than our wildest expectations and hopes.
In addition to the promised prosperity, God promises that we can rejoice in our self-esteem as Christians. Other nations will recognize that we are a blessed and favored people because of the God we serve, the service we are willing to render, the wealth we are willing to share, and the acceptance of all people who enter God’s fold.
Therefore, we Christians need not be uneasy about the future, although it is human nature to be so, as Pope says. We do look with hope to the future for our final rewards, yet we can rest assured now as we live our lives that whatever hardships come, we will not face them alone, and our places in his Heavenly plan, both on earth and in Heaven, are secure.