“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. But if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is your fear of Me? says Yahweh of Hosts to you priest, who despise My name.” (Malachi 1:6)
I know the news headlines. I see what is happening in the world. And while I am disturbed at the direction of our country, I don’t know why we continue to expect non-Christians to display Christian behavior. The people in this world are acting exactly the way I expect LOST PEOPLE to act. I suppose what bothers me most is when “Christians” act like lost people.
In the book of Malachi, you find that the priests of Israel had incurred the wrath of God because they showed so little regard for their solemn responsibilities. They were negligent in their service and they acted contemptuously by sacrificing blind, crippled, and diseased animals to the Lord. This symbolic expression of their devotion to God, which should have been about giving the best, had degenerated into nothing more than a ritual. God confronted them with their sin by suggesting that they offer to their governor what they were giving Him (Malachi 1:8). God said, “Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” I think the answer to that question is quite obvious — don’t you?
Those of us who call ourselves “Christian” are quite presumptuous when we give to God a quality of service that wouldn’t even honor our human superiors! Imaging that Governor McCrory of North Carolina invited me to his office. Can you imagine me going into that office, kicking off my shoes and propping my feet on his desk? Imagine that while I’m in the office of Governor McCrory, I doze off while he is talking to me. I don’t think I would ever be invited back.
Someone has rightly described our attitude toward God by saying, “The sin of idolatry that plagues the modern world is a ‘me first’ attitude that gives God the leftovers in thought and life.” Doesn’t that sum up the world in which we live today? I think it does.
Let me quickly share two truths with you that I have learned from almost 30 years of ministry.
First — we should bring God our best even when it seems inconvenient. The Bible says that God called for an “unblemished animal” in the sacrificial offering. That animal would have been the prized possession of the average Israelite family. So, many of them fell into the temptation of bringing other, less perfect animals to God. Many of us feel that it is incredibly inconvenient to offer God the absolute best! In particular, this is true in our worship. We often give God the leftovers of life — behind recreation, work, sleep, TV and on and on it goes. Make no mistake about it — whatever yo put ahead of your relationship with God and His church — no matter how noble or spiritual they may be — is a sin.
There is a second lesson I have learned. We should bring God our best even when we might think it is insufficient. In Malachi 1:14, the Bible says, “‘The deceiver is cursed who has an acceptable male in his flock and makes a vow but sacrifices a defective animal to the Lord. For I am a great King,’ says Yahweh of Hosts, ‘and My name will be feared among the nations.'”
Do you see what God asked for in that verse? A male. That’s not a lot is it? He didn’t say “an unusually strong male.” He didn’t say “the perfect male.”
Some families were all too aware that their BEST animal was still fairly average. So, they were reluctant to bring it to God — even to the extent that some families actually resorted to theft by stealing better animals from their neighbors. Many of us believe that the BEST we have to offer God still isn’t good enough. The result? More often than not, we end up not offering God anything.
There was a hymn we used to sing that had these words…
“Give of your best to the Master, give Him first place in your heart; give Him first place in your service, consecrate now every part.”
Augustine said, “Christ isn’t valued at all unless He is valued above all.”
Are you giving God your very best? That includes your life, your talent, your time and your comments on social media. Remember to give Christ your best in EVERY aspect of your life. If you are a Christian — ACT like it.
Have a great Tuesday.