Shouldn’t God expect our best?
by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Some children were playing with an old replica of Noah’s ark from VBS and all the animals in miniature. In their conversation about Noah, they remembered that Noah sacrificed some of the animals on the altar as a thank offering for God’s special love that called them, protected them, and delivered them from the great flood. So they decided that they would do same and, without mom or dad’s notice, they built a small fire and sacrificed their defective or broken toys: a camel that had no legs, a giraffe that had lost its head and neck, a boat with a broken hull.
Now you may be smiling as I was when I heard this story. Smiling and thinking that it sounds just like kids. When a professor of mine finished telling this story to a church full of people, he smiled and said, “Cute kids, eh?”
But then his smile faded and with a pondering face he asked, “Do you think God looks at our often defective and broken sacrifices—and smiles? Does the Lord God who says ‘Your lamb shall be without blemish [Exs 12:5],’ smile at our second rate, and often bottom-of-the-barrel offerings and says: ‘CUTE KIDS!’”
Let’s look at it from a different perspective.
How cute is it when a husband or a wife thinks, expects and lives for themselves in deference to and the neglect of the spouse they’re supposed to love?
How cute it is when a parent spends the vast majority of their income and time on themselves to the neglect of the child they’re supposed to love and care for?
How cute is it when a person will only talk with you when they need you to do something for them?
So then the questions must be laid upon us:
How cute is it when a believer thinks, expects and lives for themselves in deference to and the neglect of the Lord and Savior they’re suppose to love?
How cute it is when a believer spends the vast majority of their income and time on themselves to the neglect of the church they’re supposed to love and care for?
How cute is it when a believer will only talk with Jesus when they need Him to do something for them?
Is it absurd that God expects the best from us? Is He wrong to expect the people He created and saved to love Him? Shouldn’t God expect our best? After all, God didn’t send some second-rate angel to speak for Him. God didn’t send a scratch-and-dent angel with a broken wing and a bent halo to save us—He sent and gave the best.
God sent the most precious thing to Him, His only Son. He sent Jesus to fulfill our offering, our sacrifice, our cost, and our price on the cross. Surely in Christ we have forgiveness for our imperfect offerings, but this forgiveness is never a license to neglect or refuse to offer our best worship, service and gifts to the Lord, to His church and to the community around us. God gave the best because of His great love for us. In Jesus Christ, we have been born to love and sacrifice. In the one true faith we have the assurance that whatever is sacrificed here to the glory and service of God… will be returned to us a hundredfold.
“Then Jesus said to them all: ‘If anyone wants to come with me, they must say no to the things they want and take up his cross daily and follow me. Those who want to save their life will lose it, but those lose their life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to get the things of the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very soul?’,” Luke 9:23-25.