the best or the rest?
"Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock." —Genesis 4:4
Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord. God accepted Abel and his offering, but He did not look with favor on Cain and his offering. Although we don't know the details of this event, Scripture does provide us with a clue into what God looks for in a sacrifice. Abel brought to the Lord his "best" (Gn 4:4). Cain simply brought "an offering" (Gn 4:3).
The Lord repeatedly emphasizes offering the best we have, without blemish (see Lv 1:10). What we give to the Lord should be as perfect as we are capable of making it. The prophet Malachi bluntly accused priests of despising the Lord when they offered tarnished sacrifices (Mal 1:6ff). These priests kept the best lambs for their own meals, and burned the weak, blind, and lame ones as offerings to the Lord, in opposition to the command of the law of Moses. Malachi says to those who offered these halfhearted, self-seeking sacrifices: "Present it to your governor; see if he will accept it, or welcome you" (Mal 1:8).
Would our boss be happy to receive the same quality we give to the Lord, Who created our boss? Do we give our best time to our jobs, recreation, TV, or friends, and then give God the leftovers? Give the Lord your best, and He will multiply the rest (see Mal 3:10).
Prayer: Father, I give You my life, my energies, my entire will.
Promise: "If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master." —Gn 4:7
Praise: James tries to give the Lord his best by attending daily Mass before going to work.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(Are you giving God your best? Attend our Seek First the Kingdom retreat on Feb. 27 & 28 in the Cincinnati area and re-order your priorities. Call 937-587-5464 or 513-373-2397 to register.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008
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