“When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift – the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. ‘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’.” Genesis 4:3-7
Have you ever really read Genesis? I mean like really read Genesis. If you haven’t, maybe it’s because you can’t stand that fact that Morgan Freeman’s voice so perfectly narrates that opening line of “In the beginning….” Maybe you doubt the story of creation. Maybe you’re like me and think the most fun parts of a book are in the middle.
Well, recently I decided to read Genesis again. I mean like really read it. As in read it multiple times in a row in the same week. Some parts were boring. Like those verses where everyone begat everyone else. Other parts were Jackie Chan action packed and chock full of wisdom nuggets, like the verses written above.
With our lives and the world being so ‘busy’ nowadays, we can be caught up in giving God our ‘slim pickings.’ For you non-Southerners that means ‘not your best’ or ‘the leftovers.’
He gets the quick prayer right before I go to bed. The scroll through my Bible app like I’m swiping through creepers on Tinder (and I can’t speed read). The passing thought as I go through my day – “Oh, hey God. It’s me. Whaddup.” I’ve even calculated how little I can tithe to be able to afford something else incredibly less awesome – and less free – than his grace.
Then I somehow still expect God to bless me, hear my measly prayers, and have the audacity to question his existence when I get the silent treatment (even though I wasn’t listening in the first place). But if I’m not seeking him without abandon, leaving nothing, why would I be angry if he didn’t do anything else for me?
Now out of his incredible grace and mercy we should all be wiping our sweaty little foreheads that this isn’t and hasn’t been the case. God moving his pinkie finger in my little life is more than you or I could do in a million years. But that doesn’t mean we give him pinkie finger efforts in return. God wants our best, expects our best, and loves us through the
inconvenience pain extremely great circumstances that require our best.
And then something strange happens. I’ve found that when I go above and beyond the slim pickings, when I stretch my faith muscles outside of my comfortable, little Christian bubble, I experience more joy. More pleasure. More peace. Not more stress, less money in the bank, or less time with framily (my friends are family – framily – which I guess makes them frams?).
You see, God doesn’t need me. He doesn’t need my prayers or my tithes or my woeful attempts to keep him first. He can accomplish what he needs to accomplish without me. I mean, he’s God. But I need him and he wants me.
So give your all and watch how you become one of those annoying ‘glass half full’ people. After all, the cup that runneth over with God’s love leaves little room for the enemy. Stay thirsty, my friends.
“If you sin, how does that affect God? Even if you sin again and again, what effect will it have on him? If you are good, is this some great gift to him? What could you possibly give him? No, your sins affect only people like yourself, and your good deeds also affect only humans.” Job 35:6-8
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
“…I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24