SHEPHERD TO SHEEP
(Mal 1:14) “But cursed be the deceiver who has in his flock a male, and takes a vow, but sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished— For I am a great King,” says the Lord of hosts, “And My name is to be feared among the nations.
Have you ever seen shoddy work in your profession? You notice it right away because you strive so hard in your job to do things right. And you just can’t believe that someone did such a mediocre job and got away with it! That’s the way it was back in the time of the prophet Malachi amongst God’s people who were offering lame animal sacrifices to the Lord. And that’s the way it can be today with any believer who tries to cut corners in their service for the Lord.
Yes, it was hard times for Israel. They had returned from exile in Babylon to rebuild their Temple and the city of Jerusalem. At first they were all excited to be serving God again back in the land. Then lukewarmness set in their walk with the Lord followed by complacency in their serving God. They were bringing in lame and blind animals that were subpar. They knew the Word of God required that an unblemished animal was to be offered from their flocks. (Lev 1:3, 3:6)
The prophet Malachi said God was the great King and deserved the best of offerings. No ancient Near Eastern king would ever have accepted a blemished gift. If this was ever done, there would be instant punishment for the offerer and even death. But what about our God, the greatest of all kings? He deserves the best…not sloppy agape!! What would happen if we served our employer like we served God sometimes? We would be warned, put on probation, or maybe even fired on the spot. And yet when we do something for God we can be so casual and trite about it.
A friend from my former church named Marvin said one time to me, “Louie, we are never to give to God from the top of our head but from the bottom of our heart.” I knew what he meant and what he was referring to. He had observed some sloppy agape around him that had grieved him. Marvin always did his best for the Lord. He would think through things and pray over his service for the Lord. It was never last minute. His preparation was thorough and that’s why God blessed him so much and why there was so much fruit from his ministry.
Are you doing your best for the Lord? Have you been lacking in the quality of your service for Him? Have you gotten lazy? (Jer 48:10) Cursed is he who does the work of the LORD deceitfully… Don’t disqualify yourself from serving God in what He has called you to. Be hard working and faithful. Then you will qualify yourself for greater service for our Great King! (Luke 12:48)