One night last winter I was hungry. I decided to bake sugar cookies. Now, before you get too impressed with me, I found a box of cookie mix and just added butter. That is the extent of my baking knowledge.
In my opinion, there is nothing better than fresh-baked cookies. When these cookies came out of the oven, they confirmed my theory. They tasted like tiny circles of sugar cookie heaven.
Unfortunately, the cookies were too good. Before I knew it, I ate them all! As I was finishing off the last cookie, my wife, Taryn, walks in and says, “It smells great in here! Did you save any cookies for me?” Uh oh!
I panicked and offered her the last bite of my half-eaten cookie. Do you think she was excited about that? No way! She was upset.
“I don’t want your crumbs!” She said, “How could you be so selfish that you didn’t save any cookies for me?”
I just looked at her and gave the only defense I could think of, “I, uh… I was really hungry.”
I felt so bad that I decided I would fix the problem. There was more mix left. I would just make another batch for her to smooth things over.
There was only one problem. I had used the last of the butter. But I had the perfect substitute: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! I thought that would do the job. I mean, it’s practically the same thing as butter. Right?
So I baked the new batch just like before, but the cookies came out horrible! The dough ran together and formed one big super cookie that engulfed the entire pan. They were soggy and nothing like the amazing cookies I had before. Apparently, real butter is a whole lot better for cookies.
Do you think my wife was excited when I handed her a soggy mess of cookies? Nope. Here’s the moral of the story: nobody wants your second-rate leftovers.
I think God is the same way. God hates leftovers.
Don’t believe me? Look at Cain and Abel:
3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.
– Genesis 4:3-5
Both brothers brought an offering to God, but God only accepted Abel’s. Why? Reading closely, we see that Abel gave “The best” of the his lambs. Cain only gave “some.” Abel gave his first; Cain gave his leftovers.
After the sugar cookie fiasco, I read this passage and I couldn’t help but wonder, “How many times do I do the same thing to God?” I take the best for myself and give Him whatever else I have left over.
God doesn’t want our leftovers anymore than my wife wants my nasty second batch of cookies. God wants our best. He deserves it. God shouldn’t just be an afterthought. He should be the main thought. Everything we have is a gift from Him anyway.
If we continue to live our lives with God as an afterthought, do we really expect God to be pleased with us?
God deserves so much more than our leftovers. He deserves our absolute best.
What leftovers have you been serving God?