I often fail to give God my best–my best energies, my best attention, my best affections, you name it. I desire to do so. I strive to do so, but I often feel that I could do better. When I look at my focus, my longings, and my use of time, I cannot help but ask myself: Is the scent of my life an aroma pleasing to the Lord?
This is a difficult question. I know that I have been intentional, that I have attempted to live as the Lord desires. I have striven to use the time well. I have wanted to give God my best, but I am in a constant state of reflection, wondering if I have.
Malachi 1:8 is a wonderful reminder of why this reflection is important. Please read it below:
‘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.
This is the power of Scripture: that such a short verse can be such a heavy indictment. As I’ve said in other posts, the Old Testament sacrificial system was a means by which God reminded the Israelites of the severity of their sin, but it was also intended to cultivate a reverence for God through the giving of one’s first and best to him. When a person would offer a sacrifice of an animal that was less than the best or most pure, they were not only disobeying the Lord but insulting him. The prophet’s comparison of doing this to earthly leaders is convicting, for many of the Israelites would not have dared to do such a thing to those who ruled over them.
And this is not merely an Old Testament thought. In the absence of the temple offerings by the church in the New Testament, Paul admonishes believers to give their best through a more relevant analogy to the culture, that of a runner striving toward victory.
The prinicple carries to the present, and we all need to take inventory of our lives and ask, “Am I giving God my best, or am I trying to present leftovers and afterthoughts of my life to him?” Sometimes, these questions yield hard answers.
But I want to stress something that is equally important and, also, of great value to those like myself who can be very self-abasing. If you have not given God your best or feel that you have failed him in this area, God is abundant in mercy and abounding in steadfast love. If you’ve failed, you can renew your love for him today. Not only that, but “your best” is not dependant on your projects and programs in life, but it is based on your affections and heart for God. Are we giving God our highest reverence? Our greatest affection? He has said that he longs for such things from us, even more than programs or ritual.
So, I would encourage you not to be discouraged but to be mindful. God knows and loves those who are his, and he deserves our utmost. I fail in this all the time, and Malachi 1:8 is a wonderful verse to remind me of the need to give God my best always. Here’s to giving it to him today!
Thanks for reading,
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”