Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Giving Up Your Cheerios, Not Broccoli

Let me begin by saying I'm a Lucky Charms kind of guy. I was the kid who would pour me a nice bowl of Lucky Charms and skip over the puffs and dig for the marshmallows. But this post isn't about me, it's about my kids.

When Luke was a baby and started eating solid foods he loved Cheerios. I believe if we would have offered Cheerios for breakfast, lunch and dinner we would have never had any of those arched back, red-faced, closed-lips-which-won't-let-anything-through kind of fits. He loved Cheerios. Broccoli, not so much. When you would put a Cheerio in front of his face his mouth would open, his head would move forward and the face would light up with joy. Hold up some broccoli, his mouth would close more securely than a bank vault, his head would swivel, move and juke with cat-like elusiveness and his face would turn red. I don't miss those battles.

On one particular I was serving breakfast to him- a nice bowl of Cheerios. I was half awake, sitting in the chair beside him watching him go to town on his beloved Cheerios. He was too young to talk but he did something to me that communicated something I'll never forget. He took one of his beloved Cheerios in his fingers and reached toward my mouth. What I am about to say may seem really dumb to you, but my heart melted. My son had offered me a Cheerio.

He had no problem offering broccoli to daddy. He didn't hesitate to offer other vegetables, but he rarely offered to share Cheerios. They were his favorite. They were the best he could offer.

I wonder if we are offering God broccoli or Cheerios? I think we would all like to think we are giving God the best we can offer, but are we really? Is God getting the best or just the leftovers? Is God getting things from us which are a sacrifice or is he just getting what's convenient? It's a good question.

In Nehemiah 8-10 the people of God rededicated themselves to the Lord. In doing so, they made a covenant with God. The covenant is described in Neh. 10:29- "They...entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and statutes." Let me paraphrase: We are entering into a covenant to live in obedience to God.

It's important to understand the depth of this covenant. Incomplete obedience to God is not living in covenant with Him- that is disobedience. Giving God less than the best of your life is not living in covenant with God- that is disgraceful. Living for yourself and giving God the leftovers is not living in covenant with God- that is idolatry.

Living in coveannt with God is obediently giving God the best of your life. After making this covenant with God it affected their attitude toward marriage (Neh. 10:30), it changed their attitude toward obeying God's law regarding the Sabbath (Neh. 10:31), it changed their attitude toward money (Neh. 10:32) and it changed their attitude toward the house of God (Neh. 10:32-39).

The fact that they were willing to give God their best is seen in the word "firstfruits" in Neh. 10:37. The firstfruit was first in order and quality. In other words, they gave to God first and they gave Him their best.

Can the same be said of you? What are you offering to God- Cheerios or broccoli? Are you only willing to give God the leftovers of your life or is He first in order and importance?

I know how it felt when my son offered his best to me. I know the heart of God is moved when His children do the same.

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