Returning from Arkansas, we were scanning the radio for some good music or a sermon to listen to. We heard a pastor talking about how God wants us to give our best and it took faith to do so. Unfortunately, I do not know his Biblical text because that was all I heard due to losing the radio station, but it caused me to reflect upon that the remainder of our trip.
I was in agreement that God wants our best, but where in scripture do we see evidence of this? The first sign I see of this is Exodus 25 and how God expected the Israelites to give in support of the building and decoration of the Tabernacle. He did not require them to contribute, but Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. (vs 2).
The list of offerings was an impressive one. It included items that were very valuable even today: gold, silver, bronze, and precious stones, blue and purple and scarlet yarns (25:3-4). In the ancient world, colored threads and yarns were very expensive because of the high cost of dyes. The Lord intended his dwelling place to be made of the finest materials. This meant, of course, that the people would not only have to give freely, but also generously. The Lord wanted their very best.
The requirements of a sin offering also required the giving of the best: he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without blemish, (Lev. 4:28) “If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish (Lev 4:32). These were the very best of the animals. These are the ones they would use for breeding and growing the flock. The Lord wanted their very best. See also Genesis 4 (Cain & Abel) and Malachi.
*And so it is with us, not just in our financial giving to support ministry, but also in our giving of ourselves. Most of us live such busy lives, with so many commitments and demands, that it’s tempting for us to give God less than our best. We show up for Sunday worship services irregularly. We pitch in at church, but only if we have extra time. We reach out with Christ’s love to our colleagues at work, but not as a high priority. We try to spend time with God each day, but this time is often something other than our prime time.
When we give God our best, however, not only does His kingdom flourish, but also we have the joy of knowing that our lives have ultimate meaning. Moreover, we know that God is pleased by our active and costly commitment to Him.
*the High Calling
~ Dave Johnson