“I am honored all over the world. And there are people who know how to worship me all over the world, who honor me by bringing their best to me. They’re saying it everywhere: ‘God is greater, this God-of-the-Angel-Armies.’
All except you. Instead of honoring me, you profane me. You profane me when you say, ‘Worship is not important, and what we bring to worship is of no account,’ and when you say, ‘I’m bored—this doesn’t do anything for me.’ You act so superior, sticking your noses in the air—act superior to me, God-of-the-Angel-Armies! And when you do offer something to me, it’s a hand-me-down, or broken, or useless. Do you think I’m going to accept it? This is God speaking to you’!” Malachi 1: 11-13 (MSG)
Most people eat leftovers out of necessity or convenience. It takes less time to warm a meal in the microwave than it does to prepare a new meal. We don’t want food to be wasted, so we eat leftovers. But, rarely would you feed a prized guest your leftover sandwich from the day before. You would want to offer your best meal, not the one that was the easiest.
In Malachi 1, God is speaking to the nation of Israel. He comes to confront them. In the course of their worship of God in the Temple, the priests were offering lame, crippled, and blind animals as sacrifices. God had given the Israelites specific instructions about sacrificial animals for worship through Moses in Leviticus 1. However, the Israelites had digressed from those instructions and were offering God their leftover animals. In His righteousness and holiness, God was not pleased with their worship, because it reflected a heart that was distant from Him. They were going through the motions of worshiping God, but their heart wasn’t in it. They were simply offering leftovers instead of bringing God their best. Yet, in the midst of their lives, the Israelites could not see the error of their way.
Sometimes we give God the leftovers when He asks us to make Him first. We over commit to things, people, and activities, while we leave God sitting in the background of our lives. We have limited time, so we give God the last of it. We are too busy to slow down, so we give our leftover resources, fizzled out energy, and the leftover pieces of our heart. We justify our lack of devotion by pointing out our service. While service is not a bad thing, it can be a distraction if we don’t keep God as the upmost priority in our life. But God doesn’t want more of our leftovers. He wants more of you. And when we try to throw up half-hearted devotion to suffice our relationship, we miss out on the blessing that could be ours. Every day is an opportunity to worship God through our lives. Whether we are sitting in a church service or folding laundry late at night, there are opportunities all around us to worship God. When we give of our resources, it is an opportunity to worship. Yet, when we confine worship to a Sunday morning church service, we are more apt to throw God our leftovers, because we can lose sight of His position in our lives. Our whole life is thrown off balance when God is an afterthought instead of our first thought. What would happen if you started giving God your best? What would happen if He won all ties in your life? God is honored when we offer Him our best. He is worthy of more than leftovers, so let’s give Him our best instead of trying to fit Him into the empty spaces of our lives.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.