Leviticus 1-4, Psalm 30
Pastor Chuck Smith, dying of lung cancer, continued to preach to the very end of his life, even with difficulty breathing and on oxygen support. Throughout his time as pastor, besides delivering the message, he was frequently found on the premises of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa cleaning the sanctuary, repairing various items. Chuck Smith gave God his very best, not his leftovers. Many people state they can't read their Bibles because, by the time that they get to it, at night under the covers, they have difficulty concentrating, the next thing they realize is they fell asleep. The reason why Bible reading is so difficult for them is that they are giving God their leftovers at the end of the day when they are fatigued rather than their very best, first thing in the morning. Many people state they would like to give to God of their resources, but by the time church comes around they have already spent everything they make and then some, or they throw a buck or two in the offering. The problem is they are offering their leftovers rather than their firstfruits. How many at worship are scanning the sanctuary, distracted by other people, etc. How many choose not to sing, not to stand, etc. The question again, are we offering God our best in worship or offering God only a little of our attention. How many would like to serve, but once we have allocated all of our time to other seemingly more vital activities, there is no time left. The God of Heaven sent His very best to us, in His Son Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins, doesn't it seem that rather than offering God our leftovers we should give Him our very best in appreciation for all that He has done?
In the book of Leviticus, we read much about offerings, which was always a mechanism to restore fellowship with God, which is essentially man's whole purpose for existence. We read in Leviticus 1:3, "If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord." This phrase, "without blemish" is repeated throughout the offerings. The people were not to bring their animals who were defected and worth less. They were to bring God their very best. Notice also the offering was to be, "of his own free will", not forced or compulsory. God wants his people to offer Him their very best from the sincerity of their heart. We read next in Leviticus 1:4-5, "Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him. He shall kill the bull before the Lord;...". Our relationship with God is not a spectator sport, we are to be active participants. One of the scariest portions in Scripture is Matthew 7:21-23, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" So many put their time in, punch the clock, and believe that this compulsory effort somehow garners points in God's eyes. God does not need us, we need Him, desperately. Acknowledging this changes the heart and sincerity behind all that we do.
God gave us His very best, what are we offering Him? Every time we get a glimpse of heaven in Scripture, those worshipping seem to be doing so with every fiber of their soul. The singing is so loud it fills heaven. When the angels and saints are anywhere near the throne they are immediately seen on their faces in awe of Him. Are we waiting to get to heaven before we are willing to offer God something better than our leftovers? What we bring to God in our worship, in our time in HIs Word, in prayer, in service, in giving, demonstrate where the desires of our heart truly lie. We can never outgive God who has already given us His very best. If we truly love Him, like we often say in our songs of worship and in our prayers, then He expects our very best in return. If we truly want to experience the full blessings of a true relationship with God, then we should come to Him with our very best.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: