Friday, December 30

Giving your best

Scripture: Malachi 1-2, John 20

Malachi 1:13–14 You also say, ‘Look, what a nuisance!’ And you scorn it,” says the Lord of Armies. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the Lord. 

14 “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 the Lord of Armies, “and my name will be feared among the nations.


Malachi is a series of complaints that God takes up with Israel, and the first one is about their sacrifices. The Mosaic Law is clear that they were to offer God their best, but the Israelites were offering defective animals, ones that would not sell at the market. These were sacrifices that cost them nothing. Cheap. In v. 8, the prophet sarcastically suggests that they try offering those animals to their governor. “Would he be pleased or show you favor?” No. And yet you offer them to God. These were blemished offerings, unacceptable sacrifices, cheap worship. 


Where am I offering God blemished lambs? Where am I giving Him less than my best?

A memory popped into my head as I thought about this. The first time I went to Kenya, I took a pair of running shoes that had passed the mileage limit (500 miles) and were now good only for walking. They were well worn. I took them to walk in with the plan of leaving them with someone who needed shoes. Eventually I offered them to a young man and I’ll never forget the look on his face—of surprise and disappointment. “You’re giving me these?” Even in his poverty, he could tell this was no sacrifice for me. I feel shame every time I remember the look on his face.

Then another memory, this one of Noel. When Noel was preparing to move from Hawaii to Spokane, rather than sell his car, he decided to give it to a single mom who needed a car. But before he gave it to her, he took it to a mechanic and asked him to go through it thoroughly and fix anything that might need attention. He spent over $600 (equivalent to a couple thousand now)—on a car he was giving away. He wanted to give his best. 

If I had been more like Noel, I would have taken my new running shoes to Kenya to give away. 

Where am I offering God blemished lambs, less than my best? Sacrifices that cost me nothing? That’s what I’m wanting to change today.


Prayer: I love You Lord! And I want my life to show it by giving You my best—every time. Forgive me when I offer less, and help me to willingly, joyfully give my best.