Malachi hit me pretty hard this morning. I wasn’t expecting it. I was just reading there because I know there’s a verse about the storehouse – and I’m starting a new worship event next week called The Storehouse Sessions. I was diving into scripture with selfish desires, but I think I got more than I asked for.
“’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 please with you? Would he accept you?’ says the Lord Almighty…’When you bring injured, crippled, or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?’ says the Lord. ‘Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and my name is to be feared among the nations.’” (Malachi 1:8 & 13-14)
At first glance, it’s not a warm and fuzzy passage. Actually, it isn’t at second or third glance, either. It’s easy to skim a passage like this because in the glorious light of Christ, God does not ask us to make these kinds of sacrifices. It is hard for us to relate to a God or a people who are arguing over crippled and diseased animals, but God kept nudging me as I was reading this morning.
God may not be frustrated with the lack of quality livestock that I offer at His feet, but what exactly am I offering? What have I been given versus what I am willing to give back to Him? For me this morning, the passage wasn’t even about finances. God speaks later in Malachi about tithing and finances, but I was struck thinking of my gifts and talents, my services, and my heart. Who is getting my best today? Do I have talent and gifts that I am offering to the world before offering them to the service of God? Am I hiding and protecting what He has given me for fear of losing it? Is the heart behind my offering simply to fulfill a religious duty? Who around me could benefit from what I have or what I can do, but hasn’t because I’ve kept all the good stuff for myself and only given the mediocre to God?
God knows my best because He created my best. He knows my finances. He knows my gifts. He knows my talents and my skills. He knows my heart. He’s the One who equipped me with all that I have, so shouldn’t it seem logical to give back to Him the best of it all? Who is getting the best of me today?
Later, in Malachi 3, God claims that His people are robbing Him. “’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 3: 10-12 Emphasis mine.)
This wrecked me a little. Can you hear His heart? God, in His anger, asks the people to test Him. However, what I hear is not just anger, but a passion for us to see that He desires to give back to his people more than they can ever offer to Him. It is as if He is also shouting, “If you would only listen, you would be overflowing with wealth. If you’d only commit to give me your best, you would see that I can multiply what you think is your best into ten times what you already have. I have so much more for you that you wouldn’t even be able to contain it. But you won’t get to taste of the overflow until you are willing to offer to me your best. The blessing starts with what you are willing to offer Me.”
So here I am, trying to get some vision for this worship night starting next week, and I’m convicted that I often keep the best for myself. I am convicted that I often offer my best to the world as a way of impressing others or proving myself to the world. When really, God’s offer is that if I will give to Him my best, then my “best” isn’t actually my best at all, because He will continue to multiply and transform it into more than I am able to contain.
This is the essence of The Storehouse Sessions. If we are willing to come into God’s presence, lay down our own junk, worries, anxieties, stress, sin, burdens, etc, He will meet us in a place of our deepest need. If we are willing to lay aside the things that we have put first, and offer to him our whole heart, our entire storehouse, He will not only fill it, but cause it to overflow. And in that place of overflow, we will have the grace and the power we need to offer our best, then, to those around us, allowing impact and transformation to happen out of God’s overflow rather than our own strength.
The Storehouse Sessions
4th Friday of the Month
February 24th, 2012 @ 7:00pm
Message me for the address or look for updates on www.the-harbor.net