It is a shaming question: the gifts you present to God, would you give to the king? “‘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” (Malachi 1:8).
Overheard at a garage sale, “Why are you selling the barbecue?” “Just built a backyard kitchen. Don’t need this anymore.” “Anything wrong with it?” “The auto-igniter doesn’t work and the flames are a bit uneven. It could use some TLC.” “How much?” “We’re asking $25. If it doesn’t sell, I’m donating it to my church.”
God calls it robbery. “But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ And God says, ‘In your tithes and contributions’” (Malachi 3:8). Essential to our offering is faith, and faith is letting go, so either owe God everything or give him nothing, but do not offer him leftovers or tips. “That was a good service today,” and an extra five is dropped in the offering, as if God should perform for our pleasure to earn his keep.
It is not an empty faith, however, when we empty our hands and trust in the Lord. “Put me to the test,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:10).
“For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine.” ~Isaiah 50:10-12
We give to God, not because God needs, but because we need and God gives–but he will not until our hands are empty and open and ready to receive.
My God, may You fill my life with Your desires, Your passions, Your wisdom. May I love You first, most, and always. May my love for You be reflected in what I do, what I buy, what I keep, and what I give. May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and the actions of my self be a testimony of Your goodness and Your greatness, and of my devotion to You.