"That's why the Lord Almighty said:
'Take a good, hard look at your life.
Think it over.'
Then God said:
'Here's what I want you to do:
Climb into the hills and cut some timber.
Bring it down and rebuild the Temple.
Do it just for me. Honor me.
You've had great ambitions for yourselves,
but nothing has come of it.
The little you have brought to my Temple
I've blown away—there was nothing to it.
'And why?' declares the Lord Almighty.
'Because while you've run around, caught up
with taking care of your own houses,
my Home is in ruins. That's why.'" Haggai 1:7-9 (The Message)
Do you see that the traps of today, seem to also have been traps during 520 B.C.? If you read these verses carefully, God is using the prophet Haggai to send the message to the people of that time that He is not going play second fiddle to anyone or anything. That He wanted their best--their first-rate--not their cast offs or their half-hearted attempts of honoring Him.
The same goes for today. Do you catch yourself thinking, "Oh, I'm going to be a little short this month so I'm going to give only a portion of my tithe this month."? "I really want to go to the lake today but I can't do my devotional time and go boating. Well, God will understand that I need to give up on our devotional time. I'll make it up to Him later."? "I really feel the need to pray, but I just don't have time. Well, O.K., I'll do it but I'll just have to rush it."?
Do any of these sound familiar? Have you thought of them or others close to it? Are you getting uncomfortable? Hitting too close to home?
God didn't want the Jews and Gentiles of that time half-heartedness--and He doesn't want ours today. Your God deserves 100% of you, your time and your devotion. Nothing less.
Sometimes people think that if they throw enough money in the offering plate on Sundays, that's all the Lord wants. Wrong! Yes, your Heavenly Father deserves your first fruits when it comes to your pocketbook--but He desires so much more. A personal relationship with you that is as important to you as it is to Him is what is the dearer to His heart. The first fruits of your heart, soul and mind is what He yearns for.
Can you give them to Him? He held nothing--nothing at all--back from you. It's only right that you give back nothing less than that to Him. Don't you think?