Giving God Your First and Best
Sunday, 24 October 2010 05:00
By the end of the Old Testament, the Israelites had a problem. They ceased giving God their best and began sacrificing “the stolen, the lame and the sick.” Serving God had become “a weariness” to them. They “sneered” at the table of the Lord, declaring it “contemptible.” As a result, God cursed their blessings and shunned their sacrifices, making them contemptible before all the people (Malachi 1:1-2:9).
Herein lies one of the most fundamental and vital principles of Christianity, and at the same time, one of the biggest problems with Christians today. Every single worthwhile endeavor in our lives will be significantly enhanced if we will simply learn to put God first and give Him our best.In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). While the context here is one of worrying about the needs of this life, the principle stands—put God first and give Him your very best and He will take care of the rest.
The problem is that we are too concerned about our own things to give God our very best. Paul wrote on one occasion, “For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:21). Is such a testimony of your life? Does this describe the end result of the decisions you make on a daily basis? It is far too easy to read this about someone else and affirm it. It is another thing altogether to humbly and honestly “own up” when it is stated to describe the reality of our own lives. Can we honestly say God is getting our first and best in every avenue of life?
Another problem is that we don’t trust God with our best, so He does not come first in our lives. As hard as it might be to hear, it is true. If we trusted God, we would give Him our first and best without reservation. As it stands—if we are honest—God often takes a back seat to us as we see to our needs first, then His will. This can be illustrated in our time management, our laying by in store, our assembling, our sharing of the gospel, our prayer lives, our Bible study, our recreation time, etc. While we may say we are giving God our best, our works too often belie us. If we want to honestly say we trust God with our best, we need to daily put Him first!
Hardly realized and rarely practiced is one of the key elements in all of this. Giving God our first and best will result in us receiving the best. The best husbands and wives are first and foremost godly husbands and wives (Eph. 5:22-32). The best parents are first and foremost godly parents (Eph. 6:4). The best employers and employees are first and foremost godly employers and employees (Eph. 6:5-9). When we give God our first and best in all of these areas of our lives, we will inevitably be giving our spouses, our children, our employees and employers our best because it is the simple will of God that we live righteously and godly in all of these avenues of our lives. On the other hand, when we withhold our first and best from God, but try to fulfill the role of spouse, parent and employer/employee, the blessing of God is missing in our endeavors.
The same can be said of our worship and edifying the brethren (Heb. 10:24-25). Edifying and provoking the saints to love and good works in the assembly is truly a by-product of putting God first and giving Him our best in worship. Sing your best to God and all will benefit. But when we sing to men to be heard of men, can we honestly say God is getting our first and best? Pray most fervently to God and all will benefit. But when we pray to men to be heard of men, can we say we are truly giving God our first and best? Hunger and thirst after God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and all around you will benefit!
God deserves our first and best! Did He withhold His first and His best from us when He gave us His only begotten Son? Certainly not! Couple this with the fact that we didn’t deserve Jesus and you have all the reason you need to give Him your first and best in every aspect of your life! Think on these things...