On March 16, 1977, President Jimmy Carter visited the home of a Massachusetts family, Kay Thompson and her husband and their eight children. Kay recalls being a “nervous wreck” and trying to ignore the Secret Service men preparing for the President’s arrival.
This visit was a part of Carter’s initiative to connect with American citizens. A home would be picked at random and Carter would come and eat and spend the night. That probably wouldn’t happen today. But what if it did?
What if President Donald Trump and first lady Melania came to visit your home? Would you answer the door in ragged jeans and a dirty T-shirt? Would you say, “Sorry about the mess,” as the President walked into a cluttered family room? “I’ve been busy all day and didn’t have time to straighten things up.” Would you say to Mrs. Trump, “I’m heating up some leftovers in the microwave? Are paper plates ok?”
What a ridiculous thought. Right? Regardless of your financial condition, you would dress up. Clean up. Look your best. Put out your best china. And fix your best meal. After all, you’re entertaining the President of the United States.
So what does the Lord deserve? Would you dare give God the leftovers?
The Old Testament prophet Malachi addresses God’s people who had returned from captivity. They had become apathetic and indifferent in their service and worship to God. They failed to properly honor him. God engages in this dialogue through Malachi.
“A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the Lord of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name? (Mal. 1:6)
Oh, they gave lip service to the Lord. They claimed to honor and magnify His name. But the reality was far different. Here’s how they had despised his name.
You offer defiled food on My altar,
‘In what way have we defiled You?’
‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’
And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably?”
Says the Lord of hosts. (Mal 1:7-8)
They had taken God for granted. They had given Him the leftovers. They failed to give God their best. They gave him what they didn’t want or need.
This short book raises serious questions that have application for Christians today.
Are we giving God the best in our worship services? Do we rush in at the last minute, hurried and frazzled? Do we allow our minds to drift to secular matters important to us? Is Sunday just another day to sing a few songs? Listen to someone else pray? And listen half-heartedly to one more sermon?
Are we putting God first with our time? Not just in our worship on Sunday, but in ministry and service to others? Or are we just too busy to get involved?
Are we using our talents to glorify God or strictly for our own personal benefit? Does he get what’s left over after we’ve spent our efforts and energy on matters that benefit us?
What about our material resources? Yes, our money. It’s easy to say, “I’ve worked hard for what I have,” and forget that it’s God who’s blessed us. Does He just get a few bucks that’s left over after we have indulged ourselves with pleasure?
Have our spiritual lives become routine? Has Bible study become dull? Are the worship services stale? Has the preaching become boring?
Don’t give God the leftovers. Honor Him as your Father. Give Him your very best. Everyday.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman