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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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LEFTOVER RELIGION

I read somewhere of a strange custom found among natives in the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific. They prepare a feast with pig as the main entree. They devour the entire pig, except for its tail After the feast they offer the tail as a sacrifice to their god. Their god must be content with leftovers. However, it occurs to me that this is not really so different from what a lot of people think 'Christianity" is all about Like the islanders of New Hebrides they are content to give God their leftovers. We can see this happening in a number of ways...

Some give what is left of their loyalty. Jesus taught that God must come first in life. (Matt. 6:33) But many people place God way down on their list of priorities. They are more loyal to their job, or family, or friends, or favorite ball team than they are to their Creator.

Some give what is left of their time. Next to our soul, time is the most precious possession we have. Benjamin Franklin said that time is "the stuff life is made of." We are commanded to redeem the time because the days are evil.  (Eph. 5:16) But so often, we are content to give God what little time we have left over from our jobs, hobbies, TV, and other pursuits and pleasures. We give God an hour or two a week and squander the rest on ourselves.

Some give what is left of their money. After taking out the car payment, house payment, utilities, grocery money, entertainment allowance, etc., etc. they grudgingly give whatever is left (if anything) to God. Giving to God ought to come first! "Let each one of you put aside and save, as he may prosper, Paul commanded. (I Cor. 16:2) Someone has observed:

    Twenty thousand for my brand new car.  Fifty thousand for a piece of sod.  A hundred thousand to purchase a house.  Ten dollars I give to God. Yet, there is one big question – For the answer I still search

With things so bad in this old world, “What's holding back our church?”

Some give what is left of their lives. Some have concluded that religion is for old folks. While they are young they intend to "eat, drink and be merry – sow a few wild oats." And then they plan to turn to God after they've had their fun – they'll give Him the empty worn-out shell of a wasted life! The wise man counsels: "Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, I have no pleasure in them? (Eccl 12:1)

God deserves far more than our left-overs. He will never be satisfied with our crumbs. Only our best and finest will do. Is He getting that from you?

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward