“Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “and my name is feared among the nations!” Malachi 1:14
As a church, we are talking about what it looks like to give God 100%. The Oxford Dictionary defines excellence as “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.” Another way we could define excellence is by doing our very best. If excellence is doing our best, we can determine that the opposite of excellence is holding back or not giving our best. Because of this, we find in Scripture that God calls His people to give their very best and not hold back with what we give to Him.
Malachi warned against holding back our best from God. In this book, the prophet Malachi warned God’s people against complacency and giving their second-best to Him. You see, every year, the Israelites were required to bring a lamb to the temple to sacrifice to God. They were supposed to bring their best, prized lamb, but this is not what they were doing when the book of Malachi was written. Instead of bringing their best, they brought their lambs that were not their prized lambs. As a result, God called Malachi the prophet to confront them. This is what God spoke through Malachi, “’Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord. For I am a great king,’ says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘and my name is feared among the nations!’” (Verse 14). God was expressing His frustration and anger with the Israelites’ less-than-best sacrifices. He wanted their very best, not their worst, or even second-best.
The same thing was true for the people of Israel during the book of Malachi. God wants our best and nothing less. He does not want us to withhold anything from Him. So the question we have to answer is, “Are we giving God our best? Are we holding anything from Him?” As we evaluate this question and think about God’s call to give Him our best, it is never too late to turn back to Him and commit to giving our best to Him from this moment on.
Is there anything you are holding back from God? Maybe you are not giving Him your full attention when you spend time with Him, or maybe you are prioritizing things or people over Him. Maybe you have been holding back your service to Him in the church, or maybe you have been holding back giving. Take a few minutes to think about what might be holding you back. Then, make a commitment today to give God your very best, holding nothing back from Him.
Acts 18:7-17 (NLT)
Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic.
But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.
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