I like leftovers. But no matter how you dress them up, spice them over, they are still leftovers. Not quite like the first go around. A reheat, adding more ingredients to them, perhaps a new sauce to cover over the limp vegetables, whatever we do to try to freshen them up still leaves that all too familiar taste called leftovers.
Leftovers. What is left, I will give over to God.
What is left of my income after I have paid my bills, bought my necessities, bought my toys, I may give over to God.
What is left of my time after I have accomplished my ‘to do’ tyranny of the urgent stuff, I may give some time over to God.
Isn’t that how we tend to live out our day to day lives? Figuring everything out on our own and leaving God with our leftovers?
When we work very hard at life without pausing to allow God to surprise us with His Presence, we end up many times just living.
Getting by just fine, thank you.
We end up giving God our leftovers. Not our first fruits. Not our best time. Not our most productive, creative selves. Not our monies either.
Getting by just fine, thank you.
Malachi continues with his message to bring truth to a people who had become asleep to God’s ways. In his passion to see that his people not miss out on the coming of Messiah, he creates a crisis in order to lead these people to wake up from their slumber, their stupor and come to grips with their humdrum ways.
As we read on in Malachi, we find a God who is passionate about his people waking up, returning to Him.
He says: I am God – yes I AM. I haven’t changed. And because I haven’t changed, you, the descendants of Jacob, haven’t been destroyed…Return to me so I can return to you.
Wow, the impact of that statement says so much about God. He is faithful in spite of our arrogance that says we can get by just fine, thank you.
Yes, Faithful God!
Return to me so I can return to you.
But how do we return to You?
By being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day.
How have we robbed you?
The tithe and the offering – that’s how! And now you are under a curse – the whole lot of you-because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple.
Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.
A God whose own mercy trumps His own judgment. He has provided a way back to Himself and in Malachi He says test me in this.
It’s funny how this works. For us mortals this seems odd. What? Give up my first fruits and bring it to the Temple/the church so there will be ample provisions? Give up 10% off the top of my paycheck?
Does He deserve our leftovers?
I’ll give Him my time when I am done with….
I’ll give Him my money after I pay my bills…
I’ll pay attention to His Presence when…
I don’t know about you, but I need to be awakened regularly and take stock of how I am living out this life of being a follower of Jesus.
Where have I pulled back in order to get by on my own?
Where am I giving God my leftovers and in effect saying back to Him that I don’t trust Him?
Where am I so focused on my own circumstances that I am missing out on His Manifest Presence thereby missing out on His in-breaking surprises?
He is Faithful God who did complete what He started when He began to let His people know that He was sending His Son, Messiah.
Jesus did come.
So ditch the leftovers and begin to live again according to His ways and see if He doesn’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.