Scripture Reading: Malachi 1:1 -2:16 / Revelation 6:1-17 / Psalm 143:1-12
“And now for the rest of the story…” Those words were made famous by radio icon Paul Harvey as he shared pointed and insightful stories. He shared a story about a call the Butterball Turkey Company received on their consumer telephone hotline. A woman called and asked about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years. The adviser told her the turkey would be safe to eat but would not have any flavor after all those years. The lady replied, “That’s what I thought. Okay, we’ll probably just give it to our church then.”
We chuckle at her response but sadly; there are those who have the same cheap and cheating attitude. God rebuked Israel for their contemptible sacrifices, “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.” (Malachi 1:8)
The priests and people of Israel were guilty of serving leftovers to God like the woman gave leftovers to her church. The amazing thing is that the woman as well as Israel felt no condemnation or conviction. They believed their sacrifice was honorable and acceptable. They had a form of religion but not a life of relationship with God.
Religion will make an offering but it will not be their best offering. When I have rung the Salvation Army Bell, there were those who gave a meaningful offering and then there were those who just tossed something in the bucket. The begrudging givers gave something yet it did not come from their hearts but from their duty and image to “look good”.
God required the sacrificial lambs to be the best of the flock without spot or blemish. Israel kept the best of their flocks and gave God the crippled and diseased lambs. They brought sacrificial lambs that were unproductive and unwanted at the marketplace. Their lambs were considered to be a liability and unwanted by others so they gave them to God while they kept the best and most profitable lambs.
Religion gives God seconds or whatever they have left. Religion gives God the same token offering every week believing heaven and their image is enhanced. We can get caught up in a form of giving without embracing the reason for giving. Why do we want to cheat God or pull a fast one over Him to “get a good deal” or a bargain?
A sacrifice is designed to cost us something but we want it to cost us nothing. Our giving to God should reflect His Lordship, not ours. After all, giving is not for our benefit but for the glory of God. May our giving reflect a relational heart of worship, thanksgiving and obedience. God requires and deserves our very best…He is not only worthy of our best but He is deserving of our all!