Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My Sacrifice

As we're going through the book of Malachi in the Bible, there are times where it feels like someone took a brick and slammed it in your gut. This is one of those passages-Malachi 1:6-14. So God is speaking through Malachi to the priests of the temple. Notice how when God wants change He first speaks to the religious guys. Clean up your act-how can people know me if you only live for yourself?! 
Here's the passage:

V. 7-9: “You placed defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. 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.
So what's happening? Well the people were bringing sacrifices to the temple-good. The problem? They were missing eyeballs, missing limbs, they were sick and diseased. Since this was Pre-Jesus coming to earth, people would bring the best of what they had to the temple to sacrifice in respect to God, but also to say thank you for His blessings. Sacrifices were a way to honor God. And animals in this day would represent wealth.
Oooooooh. What would you guess would be the first way that he would approach the issue of honor? Where should he start? He starts in a place that you don’t want him to, which means you need him to, and that is to honor God with your wealth.
 How many of you know that God knows your bank account? He knows how much you make, how much you give, and how you spend it. Did you know that? He does.
Here’s the issue: God doesn’t want your money. God wants your heart, but your heart is an indication of your money, because Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart is.” You can’t say, “I love the Lord; I just don’t give.” In the same way, a husband and a father can’t look at his wife and kids and say, “I love them; I just don’t give them anything.” 
And so he parallels this with how they treat the 'governor'. 
He’s referring to the paying of their taxes, that the governor would demand your taxes, and you would not try and get away with giving the governor a lame tax payment.
For example, let’s say you get your tax bill and the government says, “You owe x number of dollars.” And you’re like, “Yeah, I don’t want to pay that. I have a box of old baseball cards in my closet. I’ll bring that to the IRS office, leave it at the front door with a note saying, ‘My taxes are now paid,’ and I’m sure they’ll be OK with that.” God’s saying, “You’re conducting your affairs with me in a way you don’t conduct your affairs with others. You’re taking advantage of my kindness. You would never give these things to people you love." 

So as the brick hits your stomach-what does your sacrifice look like to God? Have you kept the best of your wealth for yourself? Have you kept your time only for yourself-is it time to give God your time and serve? 

God loves, God forgives, and I pray that as I look at my life and everything I have it would honor God-not myself.


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