Honoring God with our rocks: What God really wants from usSep 16, 2020
“Mommy, look! Look what I have for you!”
No sooner had I heard the opening of the front door than my kindergartner’s voice filled the house. He was absolutely bursting with excitement, his face alight with joy and love. He had brought me a present. He had brought me… a rock.
Matt is thirteen now, but I can picture it as if it were yesterday. Not because the day stands out, but because it was so very familiar. Every single day, he would use his walk (run) in from the bus to scour our front yard for a treasure to bring me. It might be a leaf, a dandelion, or an oddly-shaped piece of mulch. Mostly, though, he brought me rocks. Something that caught his eye, made it special to him.
And then he brought that special thing—that treasure he had unearthed—home to present with love to his mommy.
Matt’s daily gifts faded as he got older, but the memories never will. The joy on his face still brings tears to my eyes.
Honoring God with our rocks
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about the (many) rocks and leaves I received from Matt. His sweet gifts remind me of the way we approach God with our accomplishments and “treasures.”
We long to honor God with our lives. We want to make him proud, to bring him joy. We work and dig and look for just the right gift to lay before him.
And ultimately, friend, we are presenting him with rocks.
And believe it or not, that’s good news.
Over and over, the Bible reminds us that we have nothing of worth to offer God. The prophet Micah laments:
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7)
Micah tried to come up with the most precious, valuable gifts he could imagine—even his own child—but he knew nothing would be good enough.
In fact, God himself tells the Israelites:
“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field Is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine”
So then, is it a lost cause? Should we just give up? Every time we come before God with our treasure, does he look at it and think, “Oh look. A rock”?
What are we to do?
What God really wants
Let’s go back to Micah’s questions. As soon as he pours out his concerns, he answers himself, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). And in Psalm 50, God concludes, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (verse 23).
Justice, kindness, humility, thanksgiving. It’s not about the gift. It’s about the heart.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages, one I know I have shared many times: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering” (Romans 12:1 MSG).
God doesn’t want our gifts, he wants our hearts.
Matt never trudged through the door and dropped a rock in my hand with a mumbled, “Here.” He didn’t bring me gifts out of obligation.
And I never once looked at it, raised my eyebrows, and said, “Really? A rock? What do you expect me to do with this?”
It was never about the gift. It was about the heart. The joy and love that absolutely exuded from him when he presented it to me. No treasure would ever be as valuable as that.
Honoring God is not about the what, but the how.
So today I ask you not what you’re bringing before God, but how are you bringing it to him? Will you present your day to him with joy and thanksgiving? Will you recognize that you can never find an offering that’s good enough, but know that our Father’s love will cover over whatever we lack, if we just come with our whole hearts?
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