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God does not want our leftovers!

Updated: Aug 31


By Dr. Bascom Ratliff
Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

When Jimmy Carter was President he would occasionally go to the homes of ordinary Americans and spend an evening with them. I remember seeing one such event on TV. The crowds lined the streets and cheered as the president’s limousine pulled up in front of the house.

The president exited the vehicle, waved to the crowds, and entered the house. He and his wife enjoyed a sumptuous home-cooked meal and offered thanks and praises to his gracious hosts.

Now, imagine if you will, the host greeting the president at the front door wearing cutoff jeans and a T-shirt. He explains he has been working outdoors all day and did not have time to shower and clean up. The home is a mess. He explains that his wife had watched TV all day and did not get around to cleaning the house. He further explained that she did not have an opportunity to cook so they were heating up leftovers in the microwave for dinner.

I believe that Mr. Carter would not be impressed. In fact, he would probably be irritated and feel disrespected for being treated as unworthy and unimportant. He would probably leave quickly and never return.

Unfortunately, I believe that we often treat God as unworthy of our time and effort. We offer multiple excuses for not attending church. We forget to pray. We neglect to give thanks for the gifts he has given us. And we fail to fully appreciate the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. We take these “Godly” gifts and sacrifices for granted and complain when we are asked to serve God and the church.

When we fail to appreciate God’s love and care for us, our worship and service tends to be secondhand. We are, in effect, giving God our leftovers. Because of our busy lives and fondness for leisure, we only have time and energy to practice our faith with lukewarm service and mediocre commitment.

Malachi 1:6-14, notes that God deserves better and demands better. Malachi tells us that the priests at that time were substituting blemished lambs and sick animals as sacrifices to God. They reasoned that good stewardship required them to sell healthy animals that were offered to the temple rather than sacrifice them to God. Malachi confronts them and accuses them of despising and dishonoring God.

The tragedy in this message is that we too are often guilty of convenient and casual faith. Attending church, reading the Bible, and helping others has become secondary to our personal needs and desires. Doing God’s will by loving and serving others has become too difficult. We have our own needs and our own obligations. Serving and honoring God has become secondary.

I believe that the message of Christianity is positive and uplifting. I believe it is a message of hope and affirmation. I believe the message from God is that we should serve Him and others as our primary calling. God does not want our leftovers. He does not give us his leftovers. He gives us the best he has to offer as witnessed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God gives us the Holy Spirit as further witness to his great love and commitment to His church.

If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love, come visit us at the Beagle, Kansas United Methodist Church this Sunday, July 17th, at 10A. We’ll be sure to give you a warm welcome, a hot cup of coffee, and the best seats in the house.

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