Texas Tech vs. Texas 2008, 8 seconds left on the clock, it’s all or nothing. Michael Crabtree makes one of the most memorable catches in college football history and Tech wins. Texas vs. USC 2006, 26 seconds left to play and it’s 4th and 5 for Texas, it’s all or nothing. Vince Young takes the ball into the endzone to win one of the most memorable college national championship games of all time.
We all know what all or nothing looks like and when we see someone live it out, it usually makes a huge impression. This morning I read Malachi and the daily devotional from “My Utmost for His Highest.” As they sometimes do, the two connected quite well. Malachi is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It’s short and to the point, but it has a very powerful point.
God is angry with his people for offering to him the scraps. God asked his people to give him the “first fruits,” the best of the flock, the top choice of the produce. Yet what they were bringing him were the lame animals and the spoiled produce. Their gifts to God were comfortable and easy rather than a genuine sacrifice.
While the substance of our gift to God has changed since the Old Testament, what God truly wants, what he demands in-fact, has not changed. God wanted the devotion and submission of his people in Old Testament and he wants the same today. He wants you and he wants all of you.
He doesn’t want what’s left-over after you’ve gone to work, got the kids to school, shuttled them to volleyball, cheer, football, and baseball, fixed dinner, helped with homework, etc… He doesn’t want what’s left-over after you’ve spent the day wearing yourself out at the office or at school and juggling your various other activities or social life in the evening. And too often that’s what we give him.
Parents pour themselves into work and their kids’ lives and when there is time they toss God a few Sundays a month and maybe get their kids to church a few Wednesdays. Believers pour their energy into the American dream, politics, grandkids, kids, parents, friends, sports, and some of the time that is left is given to God…IF we’re not too tired.
Read Malachi and tell me whether or not you think God is going to be okay with that type of gift. Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that WE are the sacrifice that God wants. He wants you and he wants ALL of you, not the left-overs. Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) put it this way: “Get alone with Jesus and either tell Him that you do not want sin to die out in you; or else tell Him that at all costs you want to be identified with His death.1”
He is calling believers out and telling them either be honest with God and just say, “I’d rather keep living in sin,” or give him EVERYTHING. Living the life God calls us to live is an all or nothing proposition. God will never settle for less. God wants the time parents spend with their kids. He wants the sports that athletes play. He wants the skills of musicians, the talent of artists, the work of the employee, the creativity of the entrepreneur, and the whole life of every single person who calls themselves a Christian.
If you are so busy that you can’t get to church…you’re too busy. If your kids are in so many activities that they have no time to rest in the Lord, they are too busy. Whether you put God first or leave him nothing but the scraps, you’ve missed the point…God wants it all, he wants you. Only when you give him yourself will you discover the amazing work that God wants to do. Only then will you find the rest and the peace that God promises.
1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).