God of the leftovers?

leftovers.pngThe ministry leader was anguished. He could not find people who would faithfully serve, who would share the work of the call about which he was passionate. The pastor was sad. The church pews were half empty, the ‘worshippers’ gone off to do what they wanted on the Lord’s Day. Their prayers were unprayed, their Bibles unread, their families left without spiritual leadership. Both realized that God had been relegated to the place of a hobby.

A hobby is something we do for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation   A real hobby adds value to our lives by giving us a creative outlet, by connecting us to other people, and/or by helping us develop new skills.   I hope you’ve got one! But, Christ did not come to be a peripheral part of our lives, did He? The curse of the modern Church is that “God” has become a hobby for so many Christians. He gets what’s left over after the ‘important’ things in life.  After work, school, home maintenance, sports … then, God gets His time. He gets a donation, not a tithe.  Many give what they can ‘afford’ after making payments on the mortgage, credit cards, and cars.  Christian services fills in the gaps in the day planner, after the ‘real work’ is finished – as a hobby ought to, but as He never should.

It is a misappropriation of priorities.   We are spiritual beings, first and foremost, and the spiritual lives forever.  Physical bodies die. Everything we tend with such intensity – homes, work, cars, gardens –  will decay or their season will pass.  When our appetites are allowed to lead us, we will worship our bodies, our achievements, and our stuff  even as we play at worshipping God and using the gifts of the Spirit to serve others in His Name. When we attempt to create our own ‘heaven on earth,’ we inevitably lose sight of eternity,  misplace our treasure, and wonder if the neglected faith is even worth the polite nod we give to it on alternate Sundays of the month.

Vital Christianity does not just ‘happen’ to us.  We choose, each to lift up Christ in our thought and actions. The Bible says, “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:16-17, NLT)   Joshua, the leader of God’s people, directed them to “fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped … and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, … But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:13-15, NIV)

Ask this of yourself as you enter your office or place of employment – “Today will I do this as God’s work or just to create an income?”  How we answer that question will make a difference in the way we work.  We will honor Christ in all things!

When making decisions about spending your resources of time or money, ask, “As I manage this sacred trust, do I prioritize the Lord?” Jesus told us that how we use temporal resources creates eternal wealth!

Are you raising your children to be a success in life or to be a disciple of Jesus? Those things need not be mutually exclusive, but we do need to keep them in the right priority. If trained to succeed only, your child will lose out on the most important thing – knowing Jesus. If trained to be a disciple, she will know the greater success in life and gain eternal life, too.  Ask yourself honestly – do my activities lead my children to conclude that loving Jesus is my primary purpose in life?

Malachi received a word from God for His people. Seems that the Jews were blessed, but they forgot Who was blessing them.  God was second to their own desires and plans.  He was getting the left-overs.  He said,  “I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’  “All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me.  You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! 

And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you!   “A curse on the person who makes a big show of doing something great for me—an expensive sacrifice, say—and then at the last minute brings in something puny and worthless! I’m a great king, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, honored far and wide, and I’ll not put up with it!”

A ‘hobby’ God is unable to meet our deepest needs.  That is the reason that so many Christians are unfulfilled – chasing experience, moving from church to church, even abandoning Christ’s church. God has not failed to meet their needs. They have asked Him to live in the wrong place in their lives.  So, ponder this word from the Word today.  Mediate deeply on it!  “… do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the (those without God) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33, NKJV)

______________

Crown Him With Many Crowns (Diademata)

 Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon His throne
Hark how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own
Awake my soul and sing
Of Him who died for thee
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity

 Crown Him the Lord of life
Who triumphed o’er the grave
And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save
His glories now we sing
Who died and rose on high
Who died eternal life to bring
And lives that death may die

 Crown Him the Lord of love
Behold His hands and side
Rich wounds yet visible above
In beauty glorified
No angel in the sky\
Can fully bear that sight
But downward bends each burning eye
At mysteries so bright 

George Job Elvey | Godfrey Thring | Matthew Bridges

© Words: Public Domain

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