With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I have already begun thinking about all the leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal that always seem to taste even better than they did on the day of the big feast. I don’t know how God does it, but the Thanksgiving leftovers seem to taste better and better over the next few days. Now, as much as I love those leftovers, if Jesus were stopping by, I wouldn’t open the fridge, take out a few plastic containers, and “nuke” some leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal. I’d want to give Him our best, prepared with love and care.
Yet there are too many times in my relationship with Jesus when, instead of giving Him my best, I give Him the rest – I give Him my leftovers. Here is a powerful reminder from the prophet Malachi that can strengthen our resolve to keep the rest and always give Jesus our best:
“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. “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?” – says the Lord Almighty (Malachi 1:8-9).
Instead of bringing God the best animals from their flocks and herds, the Israelites were giving God what they didn’t really care about – the rest, the leftovers. While they were technically obeying the Law by bringing God his offerings and “worshipping” God, they were keeping the best for themselves and giving God what they did not want: animals that were crippled or diseased. The bitter truth is that the people of God were worshipping themselves. They put themselves first and God second.
And how did God respond?
“When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the Lord. “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations” (Malachi 1:13-14).
God will tolerate no rival, nor should He. We are to put God first and give Him the best of all we have to offer. We are to give God the best of our time, the best of our talent, and the best of our treasure. And if we are consistently asking God to be seated on the throne of our lives, that is exactly what we will do.
Three Ways to Worship God
So the question is this: Are there any areas where we have grown content with giving God our leftovers? Let’s take a brief look at three main areas in our lives where we are called and commanded to worship God each day.
Is our calendar so full of things to do that we come to the end of each day with little or no time left over send up a prayer or read a passage of Scripture? Are we so exhausted at the end of the day that we can’t focus on our Lord?
If this is the confession of our lives, we must make God our highest priority and one of the best ways to do that is to make an appointment with Him each day—perhaps first thing in the morning before the challenges of daily living consume our time—and give Him our firstfruits of the day.
If serving self is the confession of our lives, we must find ways to make our gifts, talents, and abilities available to serve God and bless others. Perhaps we can offer them up to our church or some other ministry and co-labor with other believers to expand God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
When Jesus watched a poor widow put two small coins into the collection, He told His disciples that she had given more than everyone else, because they all gave out of their abundance, but she gave out of her poverty. Are we in the habit of giving God what is left over after we pay ourselves and buy all the things we want? Are we robbing God of His tithes (Malachi 3:8-12)?
If this is the confession of our lives, we must remember that no matter how hard we work, everything we have is a gift from God (Romans 11:36). It is He who gives us the ability to acquire wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18). The more we have, the more we are indebted to the One who gave it all to us. Keeping this in view will help us to forsake “tipping” the Lord, and we will tithe, giving God the first fruits of the harvest He has been so gracious to supply. And remember, God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:7).
During this Thanksgiving season, we will demonstrate that we are truly thankful by giving God the best of our time, our talent, and our treasure. We will never be satisfied with giving Him our leftovers in any area of our lives.
As you inspect the altar of your life, do you see any injured, crippled, or diseased offerings of your time, talent, or treasure that you are giving to Jesus out of convenience or complacency? Remember, Jesus gave us His very best by offering Himself through His sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection. How can we do anything less than respond with full, thankful, and open hearts mindful that there is no place for offering our leftovers to our Lord?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving. If you are anything like me, I know you will enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers . . . but please remember to give God your best, not the rest!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit goodnewsfl.org/tommy-boland.