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. [Genesis 4:3-5a (NLT)]
As I cut the pie, the first piece, as usual, crumbled and fell apart. “Don’t take that one, it’s mine,” I said while cutting another beautiful piece for my guest. I’d never serve a guest the first piece of pie, the one that is always sloppy, broken and messy, and it’s the same with that first piece of lasagna that, while it tastes just delicious at the rest, always looks awful. I wouldn’t give my guests anything but the best I had. Why then is it so tempting to give God less than my best?
As for left-overs, if you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t serve those to your honored guests either. Why, then, does it seem so tempting to give God our left-overs? He gets prayers when we can find the time, He get our money after we’ve purchased everything we want, we read His word when there’s nothing better on television, we’ll worship Sunday morning if we wake up in time or the golf game is cancelled, we’ll volunteer only if nothing better comes up, and it’s our outdated cans that we bring to the food pantry
While Abel offered his first and best, Cain didn’t and we’ve continued much the same today. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his first and best—the long awaited son, Isaac. While God doesn’t ask us to sacrifice our children, he still expects the best we have to offer. He gave us His best; can we give him anything less?
We offer with joy and thanksgiving what you have first given us—our selves, our time, and our possessions, signs of your gracious love. Receive them for the sake of him who offered himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [Lutheran Book of Worship]
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. [Proverbs 3:9 (NLT)]
As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God. [Exodus 34:26 (NLT)]