Summary: Are we giving Jesus the best we have or what we have left over?
WHEN SERVING LEFTOVERS IS ACCEPTABLE...
• YES. The day after thanksgiving or Christmas when you are exhausted from all the celebrating and eating that you did the day before…it is ok to serve leftovers because you dragging something out of the refrigerator and putting it in the microwave and push a couple buttons is about all you have the strength to do. We know that, in many cases, the leftovers are not as good as they were when they were served the first time but it is ok and those who live with us are fine with it and if they are not and complain about it then show them where the stove and refrigerator is and let them cook.
• NO. Imagine that somebody important to you or of a certain cultural status was coming to town and you invited them to your house for supper and they accepted.
Most of us would never think about serving leftovers to a special guest who was coming over for supper. We would want the food we served them to be fresh and piping hot. We would want to serve them the best meal we possibly could not warmed over leftovers. WE WOULD GIVE OUR BEST TO SOMEONE WHO IS SPECIAL TO US!
A HUGE QUESTION. As we continue in our series called “LET IT GO!” I want to pose a question to you based upon this idea of the best we have to offer versus leftovers. The question is this: ARE YOU GIVING JESUS THE BEST YOU HAVE TO OFFER OR THE LEFTOVERS OF YOUR LIFE? One of the things we learn about Jesus from His Word is that He certainly deserves the best we have to offer and not the leftovers of our lives. This makes sense especially when we consider the fact that He gave the best He had to offer—HIMSELF—in order to accomplish everything necessary for our salvation and in a very real sense; Jesus gave His best for us and to us.
BEST EQUALS FIRST. As we think about what it means to give Jesus our best in response to Him giving His best to and for us it is important to know what the Bible has to say about what is the best we have to offer. Over and over again we find that God defines the best we have to offer as the first part or portion of what it is we are offering to Him. For instance, God said that the firstborn child was to be set apart and dedicated to Him. God said that of animal sacrifices that the best part of the offering was the first part of the animal, which was the fat. God said that the best part of the crop to be offered to Him in worship was the first part of the harvest. We could go on and on but we get this picture that the BEST OF WHAT WE HAVE TO OFFER TO JESUS IS THE FIRST PART OF WHAT WE ARE OFFERING TO HIM.
With all of this in mind, here at the start of a new year, I want to talk about three areas of our lives where we can give Jesus the best we have to offer and if we will commit ourselves to these three areas of our lives we will find something awesome take place in our walk with Jesus.
THE FIRST PART OF THE DAY MARK 1:35-39
JESUS PRAYS EARLY IN THE DAY. Mark’s gospel is unique because within just a few short verses we are taken to the public ministry of Jesus. The previous section records a time when Jesus, while visiting the house of Simon, one of His newly called disciples, and after healing his mother-in-law of a fever, the entire town brought their sick and lame to Him to be healed. Jesus, full of compassion and mercy for the afflicted, cured the sick, healed the lame and set free those who were possessed and oppressed by demons. After such a busy time of ministry we find, if the timing is chronological as I believe it to be, Jesus begins the next day by going out to a solemn place to begin the day in prayer. We get a sense here that Jesus, knowing that there is much ministry to be done in the new day, viewed prayer and time with His heavenly Father was a necessity for daily life and not something to be taken lightly or ignored or pushed off until the end of the day. We get this picture that time spent with the Father was necessary because that time served as “fuel for the soul” for the work to be done that day.
WE NEED TO BEGIN THE DAY WITH JESUS! I’m not trying to be a legalist here but Jesus gives us an example that shows that there is something special about the first part of the day and If it is true that Jesus, the Son of God, made prayer a priority in His life how much more does that reveal to us the priority that prayer should have in our lives? If Jesus was strengthened through time spent in prayer with the Father for the day before Him how much more does this reveal just how much we should likewise give the first part of our day to time with Jesus so that we may receive “fuel for our souls” and strength for the day that lies ahead of us that He already knows about. Beginning the day with Jesus is not just talking to Him in prayer but hearing from Him through His Word!