Open the Windows of Heaven (3 Nephi 24)
In 3 Nephi 24, Jesus shares some of the words of the prophet Malachi and instructs the Nephites to include them in their records. He begins with the contents of Malachi 3, which includes the following statement from God:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my 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." (3 Nephi 24:10)
Perhaps you've heard part of the above quoted from time to time in prayers in which the Lord is asked to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that we cannot contain. As you can see from reading the full text though, this verse offers the opportunity to open the windows of heaven specifically when tithes are brought into the storehouse of the Lord.
At first glance, it may sound like this verse is saying we have to buy our blessings — as if God is saying, "IF you give me money, THEN I'll open the windows of heaven to bless you." But that doesn't really make sense. After all, does God need money? Obviously not. (Who would He buy things from?) And, even if He did need money, He could just create it Himself (see Matthew 17:27).
As discussed in the article "How God Uses Money," God's instruction to tithe is not really about the money; it's about the decision to give or not give. Are we willing to give and trust God to provide for us, or do we not trust Him that much such that we feel the need to hold back and try to provide for ourselves? There's no reason for God to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings if we already have things covered ourselves (or think we do).
What type of blessing is one for which there is not room enough to receive it? I like to think of these as the occasions when God intervenes when there is seemingly no way (no room) for us to handle the situation ourselves. For example:
In December 1987, the heat pump at our house stopped working. It so happened that my wife and I had just increased our monthly donation to the church to be more in line with tithing, so I thought surely the repairs would be minor. However, the windows of heaven appeared to be shut — the heat pump would need to be replaced at a cost of $3,000 (for the sake of comparison, a new heat pump today costs about $10,000). A donation to God is, of course, not an insurance policy against financial setbacks, but I admit that I was discouraged at the timing of this event.
The next day, my bank statement came in the mail. OK, another opportunity for the windows to open, but, alas, no additional funds had mysteriously appeared in my bank balance. At the bottom of the statement, though, there was some verbiage about the bank's stock. Seeing this, I remembered that when the bank had gone public a few years earlier, I had picked up 50 shares for a few dollars, mainly for the thrill of owning stock for the first time. Out of curiosity, I picked up a newspaper to check out the current stock price and stared in disbelief to see that the stock price had jumped to $60 per share, meaning that the total value of 50 shares was exactly $3,000! The windows of heaven were open — our new heat pump was paid for.
I believe the same concept of giving our fair share to God applies not only to money but to our personal time as well. You hear people talk about how busy they are and how they don't have time to get everything done in a given week. There's certainly no time (no room) in the schedule to attend church or read scripture or do anything pertaining to God.
My personal experience has been that when we give our fair share of time to God — in church as well as in our personal lives — that God somehow multiplies our time such that everything else we need to do gets done as well. Perhaps something gets done right the first time instead of taking multiple iterations. Perhaps people who commit to do something for you actually do it and don't need to be followed up with. Regardless of how He orchestrates it, God opens the windows of heaven and blesses our time when we give Him a fair share of it — another form of tithing.
So, whether with money or time or anything else, if you think there's no room for Jesus in the "inn" of your life — this is the Christmas season, after all — make room for Him anyway. Give your fair share to the Lord — Open the Windows of Heaven — and that blessing you thought you didn't have room for will be on its way.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.