In Malachi 1:6, God says through the prophet, “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? …It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.” He then continues to tell the people of Israel how they have shown contempt for His name: by offering sacrifices that aren’t worthy of God. He indicts the people of Israel, stating that they have not offered Him their best, but their worst. They would promise to offer the best ram in their flock, but at the last minute, they would switch the animal out and offer a crippled, sick, or blind animal to God. They saw it as a way to remove the worst animals from their flock while keeping the best for themselves.
Do we do that to God now? Do we offer Him our worst, rather than our best? Oftentimes, we go to church and think, “Well, this is the end of my weekend, and I’m spending it in church—I can’t believe that I’m waking up early for this!” Or, we don’t give God His tithe—10% of what we earn—and instead say, “After I pay my bills and buy my groceries and pay for my cable, internet, etc., I have $10 left—I’ll put that in the plate.” Or, maybe we don’t spend time with Him each day, praying and reading our Bibles. Usually, we don’t get up early enough to do that, and by the time our day is done, all we can do is mutter a prayer as we fall, exhausted, onto our beds and go unconscious.
But that isn’t the type of sacrifice that God wants. God doesn’t want your worst or what’s left over after you’ve given it all away. Rather, Scripture tells us that God wants our best. He wants the first part of everything. That doesn’t mean that you have to become a morning person so that you can spend 5 hours each morning in prayer and meditation, but it does mean that God wants a portion of your day when you are in your best frame of mind—morning, afternoon, or evening. And He wants you to spend some of that time talking with Him, reading His word, and honoring Him. He wants you to use your money and resources for good things that benefit the Kingdom. Usually, we use our money for things that are very fleeting and don’t really matter. He doesn’t want to punish you by making you get up early and going to church. He wants to meet with you and the rest of the body of believers so that He can bless you with eternal gifts and so that you can be a blessing to others, which is what really lasts the test of time.
In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus shows us what real sacrifice is. He looks at a bunch of rich people pouring money into the collection box, thinking that they’re great, and then He looks at a widow putting a couple pennies into the collection box. He says that the widow actually gave more—she gave a better sacrifice—because she gave all that she had. The other people had plenty left over, but she had nothing. It’s not about how much you give, but it’s about giving everything you have. We need to examine our lives and see if we’re giving everything that we have to God. I’ve had to examine my own life numerous times and realign myself to make sure that I’m focused on God. It’s easy to give ourselves to our jobs, our families, our schooling, or our difficulties. But that’s not what God wants. He wants us to give ourselves to Him. He’ll take care of the rest.
I was in a very bad job situation several years ago, and I had focused on that situation and let it take control of me. I wasn’t doing what God wanted, and I wasn’t where He wanted me to be. I wound up making a pretty big mess out of things. But then, I looked at my life and saw that I wasn’t giving my best or my all to God. I repented of my sin and began trusting Him. He turned my life around, brought me out of my despair, and gave me a different outlook on that job. It didn’t happen immediately—it took time. But while I waited on God to sort things out, He gave me comfort, hope, and joy, and my life is better because I chose to stop focusing on my problems and giving them all of me, and instead, I focused on God and gave Him all of me. Will you do the same today?