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Stop Leaving Your Leftovers at the Altar

I work with a mission that runs solely on donations made by various donors. They don’t merely accept money, but there are physical commodities that are beneficial to the use of the mission (chairs, pews, etc.). But what I see most often (I’m not there all the time, so I could be wrong) is people leave the stuff they’re getting rid of, as opposed to giving something new. I think it’s great they’re thinking of the mission, but it seems more a matter of convenience (to get rid of old items they no longer need, get a tax write off, or whatever) than charity. And the thing is, in the local church congregation, it’s much the same. In our offices, we have old tech, such as derelict computers, old printers, and all sorts of things we have to figure out what to do with. The gesture is well taken, but I have to wonder, are we leaving our junk at the altar of grace when something better comes along?

In the Old Testament, especially around Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, God makes it clear that when you make your offering, it’s to be without spot or blemish. And why? Because God doesn’t want our junk, He wants our best. It’s not that God needed any of it. He doesn’t eat, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He spoke and the universe came in to being. He doesn’t need any of it. Plain and Simple, He wants nothing to be our master but Him. The thing is, it’s not merely the physical items God’s interested in. What are you doing with your time and your talents? What are you giving over to the world or yourself that rightfully belongs to God? Are you giving Him your leftovers or your junk? Examine your heart. Examine your schedule. Maybe examine your bank accounts. Where are you spending your time, your treasures and your talents? What are you holding back from God? What idols are you donating to, or where are you holding back from God? Stop leaving your leftovers and your junk at the altar. Give God your best. In your private time, in your time for corporate worship, in your thoughts, and your life everywhere you go.

2 Corinthians 9

Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.”

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

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