Summary: Honoring God by giving ourselves into His service
A WILLINGNESS TO DO WHAT’S NEEDED
1. Over the years, I’ve sat in business meetings and elders meetings where the subject of involvement would be discussed. Many times, I’ve heard the same question "What can we do to get people motivated to do more for the Lord?" That is an excellent question. We would agree that the key to involvement is motivation. People need to want to work for Christ. But how do we motivate those who aren’t self-starters? How do we get people involved when it’s their nature to be wallflowers sitting on the sidelines watching others carry the load?
2. Some think that the problem is laziness. You’ll here some folks say, "People are just too lazy to do much church work anymore!" That might be true for some people. Paul called the people of Crete "lazy gluttons" [Titus 1:12]. The book of Proverbs has numerous warnings against the sluggard or "lazy man." There may be some church members who are just too lazy to do much work for the Lord.
3. However, I do not believe this is our primary problem. Those who stand on the sidelines in the church are often actively involved in other kinds of activities. So it’s not that they won’t do anything; it’s that they don’t understand the need to do the main thing. A church sign marquee along a North Carolina highway declared, "The main thing is to see that the main thing is the main thing." I think I know what that means. Prioritize things so that what’s most important gets the attention it deserves.
4. Look at Malachi 1:6-10 (NKJV) "A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ’In what way have we despised Your name?’ 7 "You offer defiled food on My altar. But say, ’In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ’The table of the LORD is contemptible.’ 8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. 9 "But now entreat God’s favor, That He may be gracious to us. While this is being done by your hands, Will He accept you favorably?" Says the LORD of hosts. 10 "Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? I have no pleasure in you," Says the LORD of hosts, "Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.
a. Old Testament priests were dishonoring God because they were not giving the best to Him.
(1) They had despised the name of God by offering defiled food on Hs altar.
(2) Blind, lame, and sick animals were offered as sacrifices while they kept the healthy animals for themselves.
(3) Their approach was to give God what no one else wanted.
b. Kindling a fire on God’s altar would be in vain when worship was offered with that kind of attitude.
c. God says simply, "I have no pleasure in you." He refused to accept an offering from the hands of those priests.
5. It’s important for us to bring this scenario up to the present day. We aren’t concerned with offering animals as sacrifices on an altar. But the main thing remains the question of what we owe God.
a. We don’t give animal sacrifices to God.
b. Instead, we give ourselves [Romans 12:1 (NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.] This living sacrifice is presenting what we have as an offering of worship to God. What we have includes:
(1) Our money -- must be given from a willing mind [2 Corinthians 8:12]
(2) Our time -- a commodity more precious than money for many people today
(3) Our energy and effort -- it’s ironic that those who seem to have time in abundant supply often come up short in the energy department.
c. Everyone operates under certain restrictions. Just as we don’t have unlimited money, we don’t have unlimited time or talent or strength. We have to set boundaries for ourselves. But it is here that we reach a critical difference which separates those motivated to serve from those who aren’t willing to give of themselves freely for the Lord’s work. What is the attitude ruling our hearts as we reach the limit of what we’re going to do for Christ?