Reading Leviticus 1-3 may not be pleasant for everyone. I’m fairly certain that I would not have wanted to be a pastor during this time of history. But, at some point, I’m sure that one of these cows or sheep or birds would have looked at me like the guy above, saying, “Really?!”
It is easy to get lost in the details of the sacrifices. The distance between us is too great for a simple transfer of knowledge or practice. Even biblical scholars do not understand all the details of the sacrifices. There is one detail in all three sets of instructions that most definitely applies to us today, however. They were instructed to bring their best. The best male lamb would have been the best “stud” and could have had a positive biological impact on the herd for generations and would have brought the highest sale price. And that is the one God was asking for. That was the real sacrifice. God wants our best is the principle.
Here is an example application. A pastor friend of mine was at a church that was doing some building remodeling. A church member who owned a painting company volunteered (unsolicited) to paint a large building for free as a part of his gift to the church. Unfortunately, the guy worked whenever he could get to it, missed deadlines, and did a sloppy and incomplete job when he showed up. When the pastor confronted him about it, he replied, “What do you expect? I’m doing this for free.” When my pastor friend explained that God wants our best and that he expected he would give the same level of service to the church that he gave to his other clients, the church member balked and left the church. Clearly, this volunteer, as well-intentioned as he was, did not grasp that God wanted his best for the church.
Reading these passages also reminds of the deep gratitude for Jesus, the Lamb of God, who willing gave himself as a sacrifice for me (John 1:29). I am grateful, too, that Jesus died once to make me holy (Hebrews10:10, 12).
How have you seen someone give their best in serving others? What are you grateful for today?
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