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. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! (Malachi 1:8-10 ESV)
Malachi exposes the offerings given by the people as leftovers. They wanted to be seen giving, but what they gave were the animals that worth the least to them. Maybe they did it to try and appease their conscience. Maybe they did it for show. But the Lord will not have it. God will not be second in your life. He will not be “fit in” to what is leftover in your schedule or your giving. He would rather see the fire on the alter die than allow you to go on with your show.
This leads us to examine our hearts. Do I give my best and my first to the Lord? By the way, this isn’t a measure of my performance to the Lord but rather a reflection of where my love rests. The grace of God makes joyful givers. The time, talent, and treasure that you give to the Lord joyfully is a reflection of the degree to which God’s grace has a hold on your heart.
Lord, would you open our eyes to see how wide and vast your love is for us, that our whole lives might be overwhelmed with it. Amen