Thursday, December 8, 2011


We are in the middle of the holiday season. We just finished Thanksgiving and we are moving quickly towards Christmas. There is something I love about the holidays and it's not the lights, it's not the music, it's not the eggnog, and it's not the tacky Christmas sweaters. I love the leftovers. I love leftovers almost more than the fresh out of the oven turkey or fresh out of the oven dressing. One of my favorite leftovers is spaghetti. I know that is not a Thanksgiving or Christmas dish but I love it nevertheless. When the sauce has a night or two to sit in the refrigerator something magical seems to happen. The herbs and spices get busy and spread their goodness all through the sauce! Anyone getting hungry right now!

What brought this thought to mind was a passage I read this morning. I decided to read through the book of Malachi. I only made it through chapter 1 due to the heaviness of the content and the thoughts that ran through my mind as I was reading it. Let me share just a few verses as it relates to this topic of leftovers. See if God is as big of a fan of leftovers as I am.
Malachi 1:6 - 14 - 6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’ 7 “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled 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. 9 “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”—says the LORD Almighty. 10 “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ 13 And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
I'm no Biblical scholar but I think that passage is, in essence, saying God does not like leftovers. The Jews were taking their leftover animals and trying to use them as an acceptable offering to the Lord. It was almost as though the Jews had the thought I know this lamb has a blemish but I am sure God would rather have a blemished lamb (leftovers) rather than no lamb at all. I think we can see from the verse above that if God cannot have our best then we don't even need to come into the temple.

As I sat there this morning I though about the practical application for my life. What do I offer God, the best I have or leftovers? Do I spend quality time reading his word and praying or do I try to send up a quick prayer as I doze off in the bed? Do I offer him my full tithes and offerings or do I throw a few bucks in the offering plate because that is all I have left after spending most of my paycheck on stuff where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)? Do I really care about the poor the way God does or do I think that putting a few cans of soup in a food drive basket is going to get me a "well done my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25: 21) one day?

God wants the best for us and he wants the best from us. Are we willing to give him what he wants, what he deserves or are we simply going to our spiritual refrigerator to see what's leftover?

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