2005-01-19 - Giving Your Best
Malachi 1:13-14 "And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD. "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations."(NIV)
A pastor friend of mine was telling me a true story a few months ago, about a church in town that had "food bank" drive and Christmas toy collection for families in need. I am ashamed to tell you this happened in my town here in NC. Boxes were placed around the church to collect canned goods and toys. Seems that several of the deacons in this church wanted the food and toys to go to only non-minority families, and when they learned that all of the recipients would be minorities, they quickly spread the word among the members. It pains me to tell you what was collected -- open jars of peanut butter, broken toys, torn clothes, stale boxes of crackers and even old bags of flour.
Imagine the worthlessness these needy and often times broken people felt when they received this worthless junk. Imagine going from the great expectation of having a great Christmas for your kids, to the horror of receiving what they received. I imagine several of these people thought, "Well if this is what Christians do, I want no part of them."
Now, imagine our Holy God and what we give to Him. Do we give HIM our best, or do we give him "blemished" goods? Think about it. The church is usually the place where people give their least. We say "hey, I know you can't teach, but it is just church, teach the kids Sunday School." or "Don't throw out that old couch; give it to the church." Or "it's just the church; you can miss some of the meetings." Over and over, I hear it. "It's just the church...." Its not "just the Church;" it is our Holy and Loving God. HE wants our best.
God gave us ALL He had. God gave us His one and only Son Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us His one and only life. He willingly gave up His life for us. HE gave us His best. Are we giving Him our best? Are we grieving God like the needy families were grieved, with half-hearted gifts and efforts? If you are involved in a local church, I urge you to give your best to that church, and if you are not part of a local church, I urge you to find a local church home, and give God your best. When we give our best to Him, watch out! He will bless us beyond our giving. We can never outgive God, but it sure is fun trying. : )
Dear Lord, YOU are a Great King. All things begin and end with you, Father. Forgive us for giving you half-hearted efforts, for giving You blemished sacrifices, and for taking Your gifts to us for granted. Forgive us for not focusing on the fact that You gave us all You had to give us. You gave us your Son Jesus Christ, who in turn gave us His life, who died for us, so that we can live in Heaven for eternity. Lord, instill in us the desire to give our best in all that we do, whether at church, home, school or in the marketplace. We want to do our best, so that You can be glorified. In Jesus' precious name we pray, amen.
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