Have you ever thought about the quality, yes, the quality of what you are giving to God? For some of us, we take great care in making sure the things we give to others meet a certain standard. If it is someone we truly love, we aim for the best. The reverse is also true. We are offended if we receive a gift that is of questionable quality because no matter the size of the gift, we regard the quality of the gift as an indicator of the giver’s feelings towards us. That’s because quality matters. If we feel that way, how do you think God feels?
These thoughts came to mind as I reflected on Proverbs 3:9, “Honor GOD with everything you own; give Him the first and the best” (The Message). While this admonition may have referred to certain Old Testament practices, the practical applications extend to and beyond our times. It is worth remembering that everything we own, our money and other possessions, really belong to the Lord. We are simply stewards – people who manage property or other affairs for someone else – of those possessions. The psalmist reminds us, “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1, KJV), and from the Chronicles writer, “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).
It stands to reason that if we are giving back to the Owner what is rightfully His, then the quality of what we give matters. Beyond our own logic, however, is the fact that this is what He requires. When we offer something to God, He pays attention to how we offer it and the quality. To the dishonouring priests of the day, His rebuke was unmistakable: “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? . . . And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts” (Malachi 1:8, KJV). In other words, if the governor would not accept what was offered, why would you think it good enough for Me, the LORD? Instead of offering God the best, they offered Him what they did not want and the leftovers. His response included this indictment, “I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand” (v. 10). Clearly, He was not amused!
Jesus affirmed quality when He said to the enquiring lawyer, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37). Notice He used the words ” with all” in the three domains – heart, soul, and mind. Loving God this way involves offering the best of ourselves, our substance, and our service. It is what He requires and He accepts nothing less. “Honor GOD with everything you own; give Him the first and the best.” How are you doing in this area? What is the quality of what you are giving back to God?