Recently a friend was sharing at church how she felt like her life had gotten so busy with work and summer gardening and outside chores that she realized she had been just giving God the ‘’leftovers’’ of her time and attention. I could identify with that. I think we all can from time to time.
This morning as I was reading in Isaiah, I came across some Scripture that put into a word picture how we are prone to act. (Isaiah 44:14-17) In these verses it talks about planting an ash tree and the rain coming and making it grow. Then along comes a man and cuts the tree down. He cuts off part of it to make a fire to warm himself. Then after he’s warm outside, he bakes bread to warm and nourish his insides. And then with the “residue”….the leftovers….he takes his knife and whittles out an image. (“…for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto” Isaiah 44:15) This is not some wooden doll or plaything that he’s taking home to his kids either! He has made a wooden image to fall down in front of and worship! He’s made himself a god!
Are we not guilty of the same thing? Not with a literal tree but with other things. We spend time working, playing, buying, selling, planting, harvesting, reading, writing…you name it. Some of the things we busy ourselves with are good things! Our jobs provide the means to keep us warm in the winter and food on the table. Many things we do are good and necessary. But many things also could probably be left undone. We have become such BUSY people! And where does God sometimes fit into our BUSY lives? He gets the leftovers. The scraps. The residue. We get to the place that we still try to quickly go through the motions of worshipping God but our heart is not in it. We’re just wanting to soothe a guilty conscience and we end up doing not much more than the heathen bowing down to his whittled out image that he made from the ‘’residue’’ of his tree. We may call ourselves worshipping God when in reality we are worshipping the things that keep us so busy and away from God.
I admit that I am often guilty. But I don’t want to stay that way. If Jesus were literally visiting me, I would never eat a banana and throw the peeling to Him. I wouldn’t peel a fresh, juicy, red tomato and eat a big tomato sandwich for lunch and put the peelings on a plate and offer that to God! But basically that’s what I’m sometimes doing in my spiritual life! I give my best effort, my time and energy, to things of the world instead of giving my best to God first and then letting the world have my leftover time and energy. I deceive myself when I think I am truly loving and worshipping God as I should when I just give Him my leftovers instead of my ‘’first fruits”! He deserves to come first in my life and the life of every Christian!
“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me:” Isaiah 45:5
God bless you!