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Posts Tagged ‘giving’

My Spoiled Dog

I got my wife a dog a couple years ago.  Our dog, like many others, has become like family.  To be frank she is spoiled.  She is 8 lbs and has a funny personality.  Because of this we allow her to get away with almost anything.  She sleeps in people beds, she lounges on the couches all day long, she jumps at everyone’s leg, because she knows we will eventually pick her up.  Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed about the way we treat our dog.  Caesar Millan would be ashamed of this “pack leader.”

There is however one line we will not cross with our dog.  She does not beg for food at the dinner table.  She knows better than to jump up on laps, beg at our feet or even allow herself to be seen during dinner.  It’s not that we don’t give her a special treat of people food from time to time, though we probably shouldn’t.  Rather, it’s that our dog knows she only gets the leftovers.  In the event that there is a rib bone, some fatty portions, or leftover veggies, she may find some of these in her bowl after the family has had their fill.  She never has and never will have a place at the table.

Giving God Our Scraps

As I think about my dog, I wonder if at times I haven’t treated God like my dog.  Not that I have spoiled God.   Far from it.   But have I been giving God my scraps?

The Bible speaks of giving God our first fruits:

 (9) Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; (10) then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)

The firstfruits mentioned here, are the very best of the things God has given me.  The best of my food, resources, time and talents.  It pierces my heart with conviction as I think of the times when I have refused God a place at my table.  A table I willingly admit that He has covered with good things.  I have said in my heart, “Lord I will give you whatever hits the floor.”  Whatever leftover finances, time, energy, strength, attention.  I will scrape the leftovers in the bowl.

The First Church of Leftovers

As a pastor I am often saddened by the inability of God’s people to recognize the problem with this attitude.  I have too often seen God’s people offer their hand-me-downs to God and not bring the firstfruits of their resources, finances, time and talents to His service.  If I have time, if I have some extra left over, if nothing more important comes up.  I wonder what God thinks when we have flat panel TV’s and new carpets in our homes while our church buildings lack the resources to accomplish his mission.  I wonder how it makes God feel when we push our time into our jobs, our families, our vacation plans, but neglect to give any of our best energy to reaching out, loving our neighbors and having an impact on the world.  God is gracious and abounding in mercy, but I can’t imagine He wells up with the words, “Well done my good and faithful servants.”

God’s Place at The Table

My wife honors me at our dinner table every night.  She informs the whole family that I get the first choice of the portions at the dinner table.  The best looking cut of meat is mine to choose or refuse.  I love that my wife honors me in this, not because I want the best piece of food, but because it informs everyone else at the table that I am most important to her.

What would it look like to give God a spot at your table and to honor Him with the first of your resources, finances, time and energy?  What would that do for your relationship with Him?  What would it say to others who would see you honor Him in this way?

Perhaps it would affirm the words we as Christian’s so readily proclaim.

“Jesus Christ is Lord.”

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