When I go to my favorite Mexican restaurant, I know if I order the Shrimp Fajita Burrito, and eat plenty of chips and dip, that I can save half of the burrito for lunch the next day. It’s part of my planning when I eat there. However, usually leftovers are not part of the plan, they are simply what was left after eating. And like this picture indicates, those leftovers often make it to the garbage.
Let’s face it, when it not as intentional as my burrito, the leftovers are usually not the best part. After we have consumed all we wish to consume, there is some ‘left over’ and then we decide what to do with it. All too often, this is all we give God of our lives… what is left over at the end of the day, the week, the paycheck, etc.
God called this, polluted offerings. In the Old Testament (before Jesus became our ultimate sacrificial lamb), the Israelites would sacrifice a lamb to God as an offering. The original instructions dating back to the first Passover, was to take your best lamb, one without blemish or flaw… and sacrifice that one. The point was you were give God the best you had to give.
Overtime, the Israelites began to change this practice. Since they could get more money or trade for the best lamb, they began to “sacrifice” the lamb that could not be sold. “By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord‘s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 1:7-8)
God doesn’t just think this is not favorable, He calls it evil. Now we don’t do live animal sacrifices anymore but we still do give of ourselves to Him. If we only give what is left over at the end of a tired day, He’s not just sad or disappointed, He calls that evil.
Our offering to Him now is ourselves, our time, our resources, our heart, our energy, our enthusiasm towards His Kingdom. When we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, let it be the best we have. Not the best we have left at the end of the day, but the best we have period. Before the day has worn you down, give yourself to Him. Before the day has stressed you out, give yourself.
Malachi’s warning may have come nearly five centuries before Jesus and two and a half millennial before now, and we may not offer lambs on an offering table any more… but his warning is just as prevalent now as it ever was.
Our offering to Him, of our time, energy and resources… should be the best of what He has already given us… after all, those resources were all His to begin with.
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