How can we tell the true spiritual timbre of our hearts?
It’s easy to show up at church on Sunday mornings, sing in the choir, and shake hands with people we’ve come to know as casual acquaintances. We raise our hands in supplication, and we drop a dollar or two in the offering.
Then noon arrives, we’re ready for the minister to dismiss, and all we can think of is the quickest way to our favorite restaurant.
We wouldn’t think of missing Sunday services, greeting the pastor, and speaking of the sermon over a long, Sunday afternoon lunch. However, how deeply do our Sundays reflect the true condition of our hearts? Are we fulfilling a true desire to know Christ better, or just offering him that which is not really useful to us anyway?
This was a problem for the children of Israel. In a life that could be hard, where every good thing was sorely fought and honestly won, to give away that which was precious was difficult. It was less difficult to offer to God that little crippled lamb that might die soon anyway.
Isn’t that like us? We donate the early Sunday service to him, because the mall doesn’t open until eleven anyway. The Super Bowl was last Sunday, so sure, we’ll be there for this evening’s prayer service. We can help with Wednesday family night, as long as junior gets the lawn done on Tuesday.
That’s not how God sees our duty to him. In Deuteronomy 17:1, he says:
“Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the Lord thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
It comes across more plainly in another version. “He doesn’t feel honored by such gifts.”
Wow! When we give him a gift that is not the best we have to offer, it is as nothing to God.
Imagine a small boy who decides to honor his father. He watches the clock, and when it’s time for his father to get home, he heads to the kitchen to fix him a snack and get him a drink out of the refrigerator. He carries it to the den, places it beside his father’s favorite chair, and goes to the door to wait. When his father comes in, he tells him he has something for him. He leads him into the den, decides his gifts look too good to give away, and climbs in his father’s chair to consume what should have been his father’s treat.
How honored will his father feel?
What we offer God reflects the spiritual condition of our heart. If he is first in our life, we will offer him the first fruits of all that we have.
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Throwback Thursday: Originally Published March 04, 2013 in Discipleship