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Giving our best

On Sunday, Pastor Chris challenged us to look at the quality of our worship in order to get our spiritual lives back on track. He went on to explain that “worship” isn’t just about singing on Sunday morning—it’s about the sacrifices we make to honor God. Here’s where I need to make a confession. I didn’t feel (accent on “feel”) a deep love for each of my children the moment they were born. I was hoping I would. But I didn’t. There, I said it. I do deeply love each of my children. But that love developed over time. After each one of them was born, I rolled up my sleeves and pitched in. I held them. I played with them. I changed diapers. I got up with them in the middle of the night. I walked around the house carrying them on my arm, singing to them, calming their cries, so my wife could get a little sleep. There’s two ways to look at that. You could say it was exhausting, messy, smelly work—a real sacrifice. Or you could say it was a labor of love; it was—and is—an honor to be their dad. I prefer to look at it the second way. In the process of making sacrifices for someone, love becomes real. In the passage pastor Chris quoted from Malachi, God rebukes His people for skimping on their sacrifices. Why? Is God really concerned with the quality of a lamb or a bull? No. He just knows what happens inside us when we give our best. When I give my best to my spouse, I get back a beautiful marriage. When I give my best to my children, I get back a beautiful family. And when I give my best to God, I get back a deeply meaningful life. Again, there’s two ways of looking at this. We can say that God is a taskmaster, lording it over us, telling us we aren’t good enough. Or we can say, “Wow! God really values this relationship He and I have. He has given His best, and He wants me to give mine. What an honor just to be part of His family!” Pastor Chris was concerned that this message from Malachi might come across as negative. But if you dig deep enough, behind every negative in the Bible is a positive. Yes, God demands our best. But, as Pastor Chris said at the beginning, there’s a reason. He loves you, and He wants you to experience the full measure of His love. The only way that can happen is for you and I to love Him in return. Dwight

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