Left-overs for God?

Bev did not like to waste food so leftover dinner portions were packaged and stored … that one serving of lasagna, that single pork chop, the cup of rice … for that one evening each week when we ate reheated ‘leftovers.’  I was not a fan and still do not care for leftovers unless it is a pot of soup!

There just something wonderful about a kitchen filled with smells of dinner preparation, the fresh ingredients being turned into a meal that will bring nourishment and pleasure to those at the table. Leftover night was not about dining, in my opinion, it was just about eating. And, now you know. (smile)

My reading in the Word took me to the last book of the Old Testament.  It was written a few decades after the nation of Judah began to rebuild following the return of the exiles from Babylon. From the context of the message we can discern that the excitement about the rebuilt Temple had definitely worn off. The promise of a renewed nation of glory had not materialized. People were going through the motions of worship, but largely without enthusiasm. The preacher, Malachi, asked the people to think about the quality of their worship and devotion.

“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve? You have shown contempt for my name! “But you ask, ‘How have we ever shown contempt for your name?’”

… “When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

“How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and I will not accept your offerings.”

…  “Should I accept from you such offerings as these?” asks the Lord. “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!” (Malachi 1: 6, 8, 13-14, NLT)

Simply stated, God says that no worship is better than half-hearted worship.  Our Lord does not care for leftovers in our lives.  In fact, such an ‘offering’ is offensive to Him, unworthy of His majesty! He wants and deserves the first portion of our devotion.

Here are some pointed questions.

  • Do you have a passion for serving God, or are you content with meeting minimal expectations?
  • Do we give God the best part of our life or the leftovers?
  • Does He get our attention in prayer or just sleepy words?
  • Do we prioritize our worship or just ‘fit Him in’ when convenient?
  • Is our service to Him and others a first-line commitment or something we do ‘if there’s time available?’

Malachi’s message needs to be heard again in our context.  We do not bring animal sacrifices any longer but the principles of priority are still applicable. “God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”  The Message (Romans 12:1)  Is it an acceptable offering, one of sacrifice worthy of His great Name?

He says. “If you won’t give the best, then don’t go through the motions! Shut the Temple doors!”   For our time, we find that challenge restated by Jesus Himself – “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)

If we want a God-blessed life, if we want to enjoy His favor and know the fullness of joy that Jesus promises- we must give Him the first, the best, ‘our utmost for His highest.’ (Oswald Chambers)

The paradox of service is this. 

What is offered half-heartedly or out of duty seldom is effective and always leaves us unfulfilled.
What is offered with deep devotion and in full engagement of heart, soul, mind, and strength, brings us real joy and elevates Jesus.

The word from the Word for today restates in full the passage I quoted a moment ago. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT)  Can I get an “Amen?”

Here’s a thought to ponder – Would you want God to love you in the same way that you love Him?

(Video of this blog at this link)

_______________

Here I Am To Worship
(Chris Tomlin sings a prayer)

Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes let me see
Beauty that made
This heart adore You
Hope of a life spent with You

So here I am to worship
Here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that You’re my God
And You’re altogether lovely
Altogether worthy
Altogether wonderful to me

King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came
To the earth You created
All for love’s sake became poor

And I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
And I’ll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross

Tim Hughes © 2000 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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