Deuteronomy 17:1 – Stop Bringing Me Your Leftovers

Posted: February 17, 2017 in 05-Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 17:1

Sacrifices of Defective Animals

It so common to go to church and see people fishing through their pockets to find that crumpled up $5 bill in their pockets to put in the offering basket. So many of us give God our leftovers and not our best. And I am not just talking about obedience concerning the tithe, but that is a big part of it. We give God our what’s left of our money, our time, our talents and our resources.


With regard to money, most Americans live off of an average of 104% of what they make and are in deep debt. That was a description of me until several years ago when I resolved to get off the merry-go-round of debt and spending money foolishly on things that I justified that I deserved. As I have worked through paying off debts, I have made room to be obedient to God in my finances. I am now about to tithe and also give offerings above that. There was a freedom that came in that process. It taught me that I don’t have to have everything brand new, the bigger car, the bigger house, and all the toys that go with it. When we let go of those desires, we can begin to experience the freedom that God intended for us. We can be generous to our church and to the needs of people around us including our children. When we create room for obedience to God in our finances, there is trust that develops in Him to provide for us. He changes our perspective on the things that we want and need. I think that’s the biggest thing that comes from obedience to the Lord in our finances is that we have a changed perspective about money. We see it now as a tool for obeying the Lord and for helping others.


Have you ever been to a church meeting or chaired a meeting at church and only half the people invited show up? We honor the Lord with our time as well. When we find other things that are more important than our responsibilities at church, it defines our priorities. Just as with our money, we must create room to be obedient to God. When we look upon church responsibilities as “I will do it if I have time” kind of thing we place burdens on others. When we look at church responsibilities as optional rather than a priority then we are in essence saying to God that He is not that important to us. We must learn to give priority to things of the Lord by prioritizing it in our daily schedules.


There is an old saying in churches that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. This is where the talents and resources come in. Churches are desperate always for people who have talents in various walks of life. Churches are desperate to help the community around them if they only had people who would commit to and follow through on helping out with those needs brought to the attention of the churches. You have talents that your church could use right now. Many avoid volunteering at church because they don’t want to get tied down to it. That again goes to priorities.


This statement about not bringing defective animals for sacrifice made me think of how we shortchange God in so many different ways. Let’s read this short passage/verse together this morning:


17 Do not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep that has any defect or flaw in it, for that would be detestable to him.


The Israelites must have been like us in that God had to lay down the law about bring defective animals for sacrifice. It was no sacrifice to bring a lame or otherwise worthless animal for sacrifice. God commanded that the Israelites bring their best to Him. That’s why it is a sacrifice. Giving up a prize animal in those days was like giving up money in the bank. God wanted to instill in the Israelites that they should give God their first and their best at all times and in everything they do.


There is a lesson here for us too. When we give God our leftovers in our money, time, talents, and resources, it is like bringing the worst of the flock to the temple for sacrifice. When we give our leftovers we are just trying to fit God into the array of things we worship in life. When we give Him our leftovers, we are saying to God that you are optional. You are a menu option.


Let us remember that God is the Creator of the universe. He knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs. He gives us the talents that we have. Then, we use those talents to provide for our families. So, everything is sourced from our Creator. Our money is His. Our time is His. Our talents are His. Our resources are His. It all comes from Him. Let us begin to place a higher priority on honoring God with our finances and with our attention to the needs of our church and our community. Let us be seen as a people who want to give God their best in everything. Excellence in everything we do for the Lord should be our aim rather than oh, it’s ok, it’s only church—it’s not like it’s my job or anything. We should want our church to be excellent rather than having to scramble to find warm bodies to fill needed positions. We should want our church to be excellent and serving the world around it rather than having to decide whether they have enough money to keep the power from being cutoff at the church. We should want to honor God through our church, through our finances, through our time, talents, and resources. No more leftovers! Let’s be excellent when it comes to God, our Creator!


Amen and Amen.

  1. Elena Bowling says:

    Mike drop …..


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