The people of God in Malachi's time (Malachi 1:6-14) were putting a very low priority on what they gave to God by way of sacrifice. They were trying to take the easy way out, the low road. This will sound almost too ridiculous, but one ways they did this was by offering animals for sacrifice that were second-rate. Here is what the prophet Malachi wrote:
"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. (Mal. 1:8 NIV)
We must keep in mind that they had received very specific instructions from God, through Moses that the animals were to be whole and unblemished. In other words, God is demanding of them the best that they can bring.
And yet the people of Israel were offering God the animals they didn't even want for themselves! Malachi challenged them, saying, "You wouldn't present such a poor animal to your governor. How can you give it to the Almighty God?"
In our everyday current lives, if we were to go to a Presidential fund-raising event, or even the local Red Cross, we wouldn’t want anyone to see that we brought in the smallest amount possible. That would be embarrassing. It would not give appropriate honor to those in attendance. Or if you were honored by a visitor in your home, you would be ashamed to give them moldy bread or rotten fruit. No, you would put out the very best food you could afford. This is basic respect.
And it is still true that when we come before the presence of the Lord we often give Him that which is second-best, or worse? We have a “closet” in our church which takes donations from the members to pass on to others in their time of need. I am not certain if the correct word is appalled or amazed at what people will bring. Many tend to bring the oldest or most worn pieces of clothing they can find in their house. We bring gifts before the Lord and in the name of the Lord that would be better served by placing them in the trash.
We are to bring our best to God, and give our best to each other.
The everyday, life application here is that we should be bringing our best to each other. Our families, our children, our jobs, our churches. Not just what is left over after we have had all our fun. No one wants your leftovers!
Part of the issue is that we are distracted by so many opportunities and toys. We have forgotten how to prioritize. We have forgotten what is really, really important to us.
You think not? There is an old exercise that I think you should try. Pull up your checkbook register, or look at your credit card statements and look at what you spend your money on.
What is important to you?
Can anyone tell from your actions?
Do you remember?
Who is important to you?
Do they know?
Then, do something about it…