March 17, 2012
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10
It was right before Thanksgiving that the home economics department of the University of Minnesota received a phone call.
A lady wanted to know if a turkey was safe to eat. She had been cleaning out her mother's freezer and had, at the bottom, discovered a turkey which had, according to a date on the tag, been there for 23 years.
"Is it safe to eat?" she asked.
The expert replied, "I don't think you should eat it. In fact, it could make you pretty sick."
"I thought so," said the woman, "I'll just give it to the food bank for Thanksgiving."
To give your unwanted leftovers to the poor; that's a terrible thing to do, isn't it? In this case it is both disrespectful and dangerous.
Thankfully, it's not the kind of thing you or I would do, at least most of the time. No, we wouldn't give a 23-year-old frozen turkey to a food bank, but there are times when we might give that spiritual equivalent to the Lord: you know, our leftovers.
If you think that statement is a little harsh, I understand. Even so, it's true.
If you doubt me, here's a little experiment. For the next month, when you go to church, pay particular attention to the prayers listed in your worship folder or information sheet. Look at the number of people who are requesting something of the Lord, then compare that with the number of folks who are thanking Him for blessings received.
Over a number of weeks the number of "thank you" prayers ought to pretty much match up with the "I-want-something" prayers. But that's not the case.
All too often the Lord gets the leftovers. That's true when it comes to our financial pledges, our worship, our singing and everything else.
This is a great shame because the Lord didn't send some low-grade angel to be our Savior. He sent the best He had. That's why when you look in the Bethlehem manger or on the cross placed on Calvary's crest, you will see God's only Son.
God gave the best.
And I encourage all of us to do the same in thanksgiving.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, You gave Your Son to be our substitute. Jesus' entire life was spent rejecting temptation, fulfilling the Law and dying, so He might defeat death. If and when my heart becomes cool to the wonder of His sacrifice, remind me so I may give Him proper thanks. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries