I wish you were here. I am blessed to be able to be at home today, and to enjoy two things I really enjoy, that I don't normally get this time of year. We are having an unexpected light rain, which means I have an "excuse" to light our wood stove. I am sitting in front of it, finishing a good cup of coffee, having just had a little time with my bride at "recess," and now reading a book by Francis Chan called Crazy Love. It is a near perfect day, and I wish you, reader and friend, were here to enjoy it. I'd put on a fresh pot of coffee (after grinding fresh beans, of course), and add some wood to the fire, and we'd talk about God . . . our wonderful, glorious, holy, awe-inspiring God. We'd get to know Him and each other better.
I have been intrigued by Francis Chan enough to read his book because to me, to have a pastor of a mega church (which I believe he founded) step away from it for an uncertain call, in this day and age of self-interest, is worthy of note. To be able to leave such security and recognition for a call of God to something not yet defined perks my interest. There is something about the step from security into faith that strikes at the core of what our walk should look like that I felt I'd at least give his book a try and see what God was doing in his heart before he felt led to make that decision.
This morning I was reading in his section about giving God our leftovers, and it really struck a note of resonance with me. I think that he pinpointed the issue at work when this happens when he said, "For years I gave God leftovers and felt no shame. I simply took my eyes off Scripture and instead compared myself to others" (pg. 91).
I think that this is so true. Like the frog slowly being boiled alive in water that doesn't realize it as the temperature is slowly raised, I think that we can, without realizing it, let the church (institution), or others, become our measuring stick instead of God's holiness and worth. We can, slowly, by taking our eyes off of Him and His majesty and wonder and holiness and justice and power and love and mercy, start to feel content in what we are giving Him because it is more than others, or most, are giving Him. The reality is, however, that if He alone were our measuring stick we would never be content, and always want to give Him more.
The origin of this isn't guilt, or legalism, but love and wonder. Simply because He is so worthy, and we love Him so, that we just want to give Him our first and our best—whether it is of our time, or our affection, or our value, or our finances, or . . ., we can go on and on. When we stop and stare at the stars, and realize there are billions of galaxies with billions of stars in each . . . when we look at the wonders of how life in a single tidepool interacts and is so perfectly complete . . . and then we realize that this huge, incredible, amazing, awe-inspiring God knows us and loves us and died for us and lives in us, it just starts to bring out in us the desire to give Him our very first and our very best of all that we are.
God says to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes, in our busy lives, that is hard. To just be still and to marvel at Him and His handiwork, and to reflect on His written word and His promises. But, I believe, the more we simply look at Him, and the less we look at others around us, the less we will find that He gets our leftovers, because the more we will find He is the center of our heart and awe, and we want to give our best to those that we love.