Malachi 1:7-8 You place defiled food on my altar. But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty.
That is right! I am going straight up Old Testament on you! Or me…or whoever reads this.
While I was reading through this book, these verses stuck out to me. I mean, obviously because I had just gotten back from my daily animal sacrifice… Anyways, what stuck out to me was the offering given in each circumstance.
Circumstance 1: to the Governor
How many of you, if you were going to visit someone of importance and were told to bring a thoughtful and meaningful gift, would bring a gift card? I would say not many of us. We would think for hours, we would construct, use our imagination, give our all to the task in order to receive our own personal “what a wonderful gift!” from this person.
I mean why not? This person is right in front of us. We can see whether our gift is pleasing or not so much; no one wants to have his or her gift flop. You have all been there at those birthday parties where anticipation for the big gift was high and when it is finally opened and… “socks??? really??? socks???” You know what I am talking about.
Circumstance 2: God
By all accounts the amount of effort shown should be the same. After all, we are bringing things before our creator, the one who formed us in our mother’s wombs, knows the number of hairs on our head, and loves us more intimately than anyone ever could (more than any governor could, hopefully…). But the effort shown is not the same the majority of the time. I know it is not for me as much as it should be. So what is the difference?? Well though this answer is a copout but, it boils down to the fact that we can’t see God, in the typical sense anyways. We don’t see the look on His face when our gift isn’t from the heart, like when we make a quick stop at the store to pick up a card on the way to a party. The thought and sincerity doesn’t seem to be there. In the end God gets shortchanged, not that He is lacking in anything.
He often settles for second best. I can’t help but imagine that this breaks His heart. The Bible says that we have the ability to grieve God, and I would say giving Him second best must do just that.
I am not meaning to imply that the bigger the gift, the better. I am specifically focused on the attitude behind the gift. As we serve God in our day-to-day lives, are we doing it out of reckless abandon and love for God? Or is it because someone said that is what we should do? When we tithe, is it because God has given us so much and out of an overflowing heart all we can think to do is give back to Him and give to others? Or is it because “that is what a good Christian does”?
What is your motivation? Are you giving God second best? Are you giving Him what you would never dare give to another human face-to-face for fear they would see that there is nothing behind this gift? If the answer to that is yes, then do something about it. I know there are areas even in my life that I have given God second best, and that needs to change. God is better than second best.
What needs to change in your life?