LEFTOVERS FOR GOD
“When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame 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 plead with God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”
During the time of the prophet Malachi, progress was being made. God had defended the Jewish people. He restored them from Exile. They had rebuilt the Jerusalem’s walls. And they had finally rebuilt their Temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians almost 100 years earlier. They had a new and refreshed building, but now their lives needed to be renewed and refreshed. The people were characterized by rote obedience, doing as little as possible. Following the requirements to give, but giving their leftover time, their leftover talent, their leftover treasure, and their leftover offerings instead of their best.
1_ What does the term “leftover” imply when you apply it to serving food? What does the term “leftover” imply when you apply it to giving time and talent and offerings to the Lord?
2_ In the Bible, God is depicted as desiring the people to give the “first fruits” of their crop and flocks to the Lord instead of their “leftovers.” What do you think the term “first fruits” implies? (Hint: Exodus 22:29-30)
3_ When people gave blind and lame animals to the Temple offering, what do you think that said about their sense of devotion, love, and priority for the Lord?
1_ Give the best of your time to the Lord. Have your quiet time when you are most refreshed. You’re your best efforts when you volunteer. And begin to serve Jesus in the strength of your youth. And in your golden years when you are old and wise!
2_ Give the best of your talent to the Lord. Use your singing and artistic talent in church. Use your teaching talent in Sunday school. If your gift is mercy visit the hospital. If it is cooking become part of the ministry team! Discover your spiritual gifts and passions and dedicate them to Christ.
3_ Give the best of your treasure to the Lord. Give your offerings to the Lord first; don’t wait to see if you have any leftover change to give to God. Fund a mission trip, provide an Upward scholarship, leave some of your will to charity. Keep giving even after you are gone!
“Jesus, I give myself to you. I receive your forgiveness and ask you to take your rightful place in my life as my Savior and Lord. Come reign in my heart, fill me with your love and your life, and help me to become a person who is truly loving—a person like you.” (Wild at Heart Prayer, John Eldridge)