Monday, December 21, 2015

Giving Your Best Gift

Since God gave his best gift to us we should give the best gift that we have to offer.

Genesis 4:1-5  Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, "With the LORD's help, I have produced a man!"  2  Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel. When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.

3  When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.  4  Abel also brought a gift--the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The LORD accepted Abel and his gift,  5  but He did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.

The opportunity to live in paradise is gone and it won't come back for a very long time. Imagine having to explain that to your children. Adam and Eve had to tell their boys how good they had it and awesome it was to have daily visits from God.

Since they weren't living in paradise the boys had to work, they would grow weary and tired, Cain had to fight the weeds in order to protect his crops and Abel had to protect his livestock from the wild animals.

The boys learned what sin is and they learned that because of sin God required an offering as a part of their worship. This offering must be the best gift that they had but when it was time to worship God one of them brought a perfect gift and the other offered a gift that was less than the best.

They both knew the right thing to do but the condition of their heart and their attitude toward God was reflected in their gift giving.
Genesis 4:6-7  "Why are you so angry?" the LORD asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected?  You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." 
God let Cain know that he needed to change his attitude and he gave him the opportunity to do so but Cain ignored God advice. Imagine bringing a gift to God and he tells you that you didn't do it right, maybe it is the right gift but your heart is not right, maybe the gift is wrong but your heart is right, if you get a chance to fix what is wrong then just do it.

Cain didn't offer God a satisfactory gift and he didn't appreciate the undeserved gift that God gave to him. God could have killed Cain but instead of enjoying forgiveness, mercy and grace, Cain decided that he loved his sin more than God. Cain should have learned from his parents that the consequences of disobedience were severe and that God could have been a lot more harsh. (Genesis 4:13)

The Bible is full of examples of God giving and man rejecting, over and over again God gives his best and we don't appreciate it. Adam and Eve didn't appreciate it and now Cain has followed in their footsteps and the process just keeps on going through all of history.
Romans 12:1-2  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 
Have you ever received a gift so great that you just had to give your best in return? If you are a child of God you have! God cared enough to send his very best so we should feel compelled to follow his example. I should be willing to follow God's example in giving up my rights and privileges in order to give like God. (Philippians 2:5-11)

Video: Giving God Our Best - Francis Chan
What kind of gift do I give? Too often it isn't my best gift.

Sometimes I give him my time after everything else and I am too tired. Sometimes I give him my spare change instead of giving generously and sacrificially. Sometimes I want to impose my own rules about worship or I want to decide what my worship looks like. (Isaiah 58, Amos 5, Malachi 1)

How deliberate are you in showing how much God means to you by what you give back to him?