Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Half-Hearted Sacrifice

Start with Prayer—

Scripture text: Mal. 3:7-12; Mal. 1:7-14

I know you have all heard the first scriptures I read before, “will a man rob God?”.  We have all heard it associated with money, with “tithes and offerings” as the scriptures point out.  I can imagine there have been a million sermons taught on that very subject and I imagine you all have heard some.  The question asked “will a man rob God” and the answer given... that he has been robbed in tithes and offerings however, is not just about money.  Yes, it can be and has been associated with money the majority of the time, but the scriptures leading up to this passage are not talking about money at all.  It is talking about the condition of the sacrifices offered to the Lord by the priests on behalf of themselves and the saints.  

First let’s define offering.  

An offering is any gift you “offer” to someone or something.  It can be money, food, drink, homemade wares, skills, anything.  

What is tithes? Tithes as the bible defines is the first tenth of anything you have gained whether money, other goods, how about time, skills, knowledge.  Those are all things that we gain, right?  What about a person who never works and brings in a pay check.  Are they exempt from tithing?  I say not.  God has given them 24 hours in a day that say as we are given.  They owe to God 2.4 hours of their time daily the same as we do.   

Now what is a sacrifice?  It’s to commit something of value to be used for or to be offered as a gift. 

The people in our scripture text offered cattle up to be sacrificed in those days because for one, God required a blood sacrifice for their sins and also because cattle was sort of like their “money”.  It is what they paid for things with most of the time.  Cattle was their “wealth”.  The more cattle you had the better you were.  However, as our text points out, they got to the place where they would give God a less than perfect sacrifice and saved the best cattle for themselves.  They would offer up to God those animals that had deformities, the lame, sick and diseased ones because they knew they weren’t any good for anything else.  Even as Miranda can tell you, in today’s times, what do they do with a lame horse?  They kill it because It is no good for anything.  It can’t work and it can’t be sold so it is a liability to it’s owner.  But, God said to them, why don’t you offer these sickly sacrifices to the governor.  Do you think he would he accept this “trash” at your hand?  No, so why should I?  After all I am the great king!
The problem was, the people in our scripture text had begun taking God for granite.  He was no longer special to them anymore.  He was no longer “god” to them anymore.  He was just another thing in their lives so they began giving him less than perfect sacrifices or offerings because he just wasn’t important enough to them to give their best. 

Not only were they giving a low quality sacrifice to the Lord but they even said in their hearts that it was “vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?  They didn’t even feel it was profitable for them to serve God.  Church had become just another duty to perform each week.  

I wonder how often we come to church feeling that way?  All of us at one time or another have dreaded coming to church for various reasons, or maybe we have come to church for other reasons than to meet with God.  Maybe we were more excited about meeting with our friends than worshiping the one who has given us all that he had so we might have abundant life. 

I like the story of the widow’s mite.  Mark 12:41-44 (also Luke 21:1-4)—The poor widow didn’t give as much “money” as the others as earthly value would have it, but she gave more because her offering was truly a sacrifice.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have as much to give as someone else.  It really matters with what heart you give it.  As Jesus said it...”she did cast in all that she had, even all her living”.  Jesus gave his all for us.  I wonder are we giving our all back?  (Jesus noticed this poor woman, not because she was poor but because of her sacrifice), and out of her want (I believe her desire after God) gave sacrificially.  Do you want to be noticed by Jesus?  How about coming to church with such a desire after God and getting closer to him that we give as much of ourselves as possible.  Let us give all that we have.  

“Will a man rob God?”  You see, It’s not just about money, but withholding from him your very best. I ask you today, what kind of offering are you bringing to God.  Is it all or is it lame.  Don’t be guilty of offering the “half-hearted sacrifice”.

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This blog is dedicated to all things inspirational, with it's basis solely from the infallible, inerrant word of God. Unless otherwise posted all scripture references will be taken from the Kings James version of the Holy Bible. Some biblical material and docrinal views on this blog may be controversial in content. I ask when viewing this type of material that you open your heart solely to the word of God and allow his truth, as written in his word, to teach and guide you.
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