"The prophecy of Malachi was spoken about 430 B.C. The first part (1:1-2:9) is addressed to the priesthood, reproving them for their neglect of service to God." (Bible Dictionary, "Malachi")
"The exact dates of Malachi's ministry are not known... Malachi's name is unique in the Hebrew cannon. It means 'my messenger,' or 'my angel,' but it may be a shortened form of 'the Lord's messenger.' Although we know very little about him and his life's history, latter-day revelation makes it clear that he was an important individual who labored with Judah as one of her great prophets (D&C 138:46)...
"To the Nephites and Lamanites the risen Savior quoted sections of the prophecies of Malachi, stating that the Father himself had commanded him to do so. The reason, he stated, was 'that they should be given unto future generations' (3 Ne. 24:1; 26:2). Those generations were the righteous children of Lehi who established the perfect society after the coming of the Lord. Those people needed the words of Malachi in order to understand the new dimension which the work of the Lord took, now that he had fulfilled his mortal mission. Up to this time most of the preparation had been for his first coming. From that point on, it would be for his second. The words of Malachi reveal not only key events but also the nature of the work that would prepare for that coming. Therefore, the Savior used the words of Malachi as the basis on which he expounded 'all things which should come upon the face of the earth, even until the elements should melt with fervent heat, and the earth should be wrapt together as a scroll, and the heavens and the earth should pass away' (3 Ne. 26:3)." (Kent P. Jackson, ed., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 4: 1 Kings to Malachi [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 366)
Malachi 1:6-10 if then I be a father, where is mine honour?
Through Malachi, the Lord uses a literary device to prove his point. He asks some rhetorical questions like:
If then I be a father, where is mine honour?
And if I be a master, where is my fear?
And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil?
And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil?
Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?
This hath been by your means: will [God] regard your persons?
Who is there among you that would shut the doors for nought?
"Rhetorical questions encourage the listener to think about what the (often obvious) answer to the question must be. When a speaker states, 'How much longer must our people endure this injustice?', no formal answer is expected. Rather, it is a device used by the speaker to assert or deny something." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhetorical_question)
Rhetorical questions are for a people that know the answer. They know better. They have had the law for centuries and are rather wearied by the Lord's requirements. Do we see that today? Are there those who are wearied by the requirements of church membership and activity? The question is rhetorical.
Malachi 1:10 I have no pleasure in you... neither will I accept an offering at your hand
"Not too many years after the dedication of the Second Temple, the Jews grew worldly and unworthy of administering sacred rites therein. The book of Malachi (Mal. 1:2; Mal. 2:17; Mal. 3:5-18) is the protest of a great prophet against the corruption and unworthiness of the people. We are in no position to say how long the Lord was willing to accept the ordinances performed in this temple following its dedication, but it cannot have been many years. It would be interesting to know the details concerning the administration of the temple following the disappearance of prophets from Israel, a period of about four hundred years." (Sidney B. Sperry, "Ancient Temples and Their Functions," Ensign, Jan. 1972, 70)
Malachi 1:11 my name shall be great among the Gentiles
As we have proceeded through the pages of the Old Testament, we have encountered a people who have become increasingly nationalistic. To be Jewish became more important than to be righteous. This was especially true in the Savior's day. The Jews bragged, "We be Abraham's seed" as if that was all that mattered (John 8:33). But lineage from Abraham was not enough. The Lord would seek another people. Like Isaiah before him, Malachi is suggesting the times of the Gentiles are coming soon (Isa. 49:6).
"The prophet tried to shock Israel with the future righteousness of converted people of other nations ("the Gentiles") in contrast to Israel's profaning his holy name by offering 'contemptible' offerings, all the while protesting that worship was 'a weariness.' Among the heathen, said he, the name of the Lord would be more revered than by any Israelite who saved a good animal for himself and sacrificed a blemished one (Mal. 1:11-14). To do so was to show contempt for 'the table of the Lord.' In latter days comparable contempt could occur in the perfunctory paying of tithes and offerings, thoughtless sacrament worship, or unthinking performance of temple ordinances. (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1993], 695)
Malachi 1:13 ye said also, behold, what a weariness it is! And ye have snuffed at it
"Malachi tried to teach the Israel of his time the reasonable principles of cause and effect, asking whether they thought God would be gracious to them simply because of who they were. Then he reasoned, when one opens or shuts a door, it is for a purpose; when one kindles a fire on the altar, it is for a reason; just so, one must have a sincere purpose in mind when offering sacrifices and do it righteously or the Lord will neither accept the offerings nor bless the worshipper." (Ellis T. Rasmussen, A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament [Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1993], 695)
The story is told of a man who begrudgingly paid his tithing. Slapping the envelope down on the Bishop's desk, he declared, "Bishop, here is your damn tithing!" The bishop slid the envelope back across the desk and replied, "Brother, if that is your attitude, then the Lord doesn't want it." The Lord doesn't want our tithing; He doesn't want our fast offerings; He doesn't want us attending our meetings if we have the wrong attitude. "The Lord requireth the heart and the willing mind." (D&C 64:34) If we are not willing to give him either, then he has no interest in our outward show of religion.
Joseph B. Wirthlin
A major reason this church has grown from its humble beginnings to its current strength is the faithfulness and devotion of millions of humble and devoted [members]... He encourages us to "be not weary in well-doing, for [we] are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." May we be faithful in fulfilling the duties of whatever calling we have in the kingdom. Let us pay heed to the "small things" that make all the difference. Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments as we have made sacred covenants to do. As our heritage and our growth clearly show, we are, indeed, "laying the foundation of a great work."
Let us dedicate ourselves to doing the Lord's work to the best of our abilities. May we honor the faith of our fathers by giving our own faithful service to this great cause. ("Faith of Our Fathers," Ensign, May 1996, 34)
Marvin J. Ashton
A willing heart describes one who desires to please the Lord and to serve His cause first. He serves the Lord on the Lord's terms, not his own. There are no restrictions to where or how he will serve.
As one who has tendered calls to serve to many, I am always pleased to see members willing to give their time, energy, and effort to the upbuilding of the Church. They do so for one primary reason-to serve the Lord with all their heart, might, mind, and strength. ("The Measure of Our Hearts," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 16)