The question, “Are you an embezzler?” might seem odd in a financial ministry. Many people are embezzlers even though they are not embezzling from their jobs or others. However, when you are not tithing back to God, you are in essence an embezzler. I know this sounds rather harsh, but think about it. God owns it all.
We forget that simple truth. We start to think that the money we bring home is ours. We develop a “me” or “mine” mentality. We switch ownership from God to ourselves. Let’s look at one prime example in the Bible. It is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11.
Ananias and Sapphira
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord?Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
This couple forgot that they were not owners of the piece of land. You might be saying, “Well this couple gave most of the money, they only kept a small portion for themselves. What’s wrong with that?” The problem is that they lied. They claimed that the amount of money they were giving was the total amount. Had they come forth and said we sold this property for this amount and are giving a percentage back, they would have been okay. Instead, they chose to lie. The result was death.
We too tend to withhold money from God. When we pay all our bills and pay for our wants and desires first, then if there’s anything left we give that back to God. If there’s nothing left, we decide we’ll give next month. However, when we don’t give to God first, we’ll always get to the end of the month and find there’s very little or nothing left. We are embezzling from God when we don’t realize that He owns everything and we fail to give back to Him first.